Influence

The fieldwork for Perceptions 2020 had been under way for several weeks when coronavirus appeared in the Netherlands at the end of February and the government took measures in mid-March 2020 to curb the spread of the virus (the so-called ‘intelligent lockdown’). The coronavirus crisis and the measures taken may have influenced the response pattern and the answers given by the respondents in Perceptions 2020.

The answers to questions on subjects such as climate change, the extent of the climate problem, the associated concerns, buying sustainable home amenities, buying an electric car and respondents’ flying habits were assessed to identify any differences in answer patterns between the respondents who took part before 15 March (55 percent of respondents) and those who took part on or after 15 March (45 percent of respondents). Hardly any significant variations were seen on the whole, although differences were observed in a few questions. For example, the percentage in favour of a daytime speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour on motorways was higher in the group that took part on or after 15 March than in the group that completed the questionnaire before 15 March (after verification of the interview mode and background characteristics). The same applies to the percentage who were certainly prepared to take fewer holiday flights to protect the climate.

However, it is not possible to say for certain to what extent these differences can be explained by the coronavirus crisis and the associated measures. Other factors, such as differences in the composition of the respondent groups taking part before and after the coronavirus outbreak, may have played a role.

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