Our work.

As part of the Talk/together initiative, British Future commissioned ICM Unlimited to carry out nationally representative polling among adults in Britain to explore people’s perceptions of society – its divides, relations between people from different backgrounds, and what brings people together. An initial nationally representative poll was carried out in March 2020, and was then repeated in May/June 2020 to see whether views had shifted during the coronavirus crisis and lockdown.

The research fed into a report by British Future:

 Remembering the kindness of strangers: Division, unity and social connection during and beyond COVID-19

A summary of the report’s findings can also be found on British Future’s website.

Media coverage

The findings of the research were covered widely in the British media, including by the BBC, The Sun, and Mirror:

Coronavirus: UK lockdown solidarity “starting to fray”‘, BBC

Join the big consensus census to bring Britain together, for my sister Jo Cox’s sake‘, The Sun

Suffering together through pandemic “has made Britain a less divided country”‘, Mirror

Britain’s lockdown blitz spirit “is starting to fray” as togetherness in early stages of pandemic is replaced by anger at those not following rules, says study‘, Daily Mail

Coronavirus lockdown solidarity in the UK is “starting to fray”‘, WalesOnline

We must not lose the community spirit created by lockdown‘, The National

Cummings trips damaged UK lockdown unity, study suggests‘, The Guardian

UK’s national unity created by lockdown “beginning to fray”, study warns‘, Yahoo!

The results of the polling were also covered in the Telegraph‘s politics live blog.


  • Fewer than half of adults in Britain agree that “the UK has never felt so divided in my lifetime” (45%), a fall of 15 percentage points since early March (60%)
  • Six in ten people agree that “as a society, we tend to dwell on our differences rather than what we have in common” (61%) – seven in ten people said the same in March (70%)
  • There is a difference in how people view relations between people in their local community and in Britain at large, with people being more likely to think that people from different backgrounds get on well in their local community (77%) than in Britain more broadly (61%)
  • Eight in ten adults say that it is important for people to have the opportunity to meet and interact with people who are different to themselves (80%), yet only around a quarter say that they often get a chance to meet people from a different background (27%)

Tables and methodology

The data tables for the March poll can be found here: ICM Omnibus – British Future – Talk Together Campaign Polling – Tables – March

The tables for the May/June poll can be found here: ICM Omnibus – British Future – Talk Together Campaign Polling – Tables – May-June

The polls were commissioned by British Future and carried out by ICM Unlimited. ICM interviewed a representative sample of 2,006 GB adults (18+) between 06 and 09 March 2020, and repeated the poll among a representative sample of 2,010 GB adults (18+) between 29 May and 01 June 2020. For both polls, the data has been weighted to the profile of all adults aged 18+ in Great Britain.

Please click the button below to download the report
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