Whew. What a year it has been! The new decade rang in with such hope, but nobody really grasped the kind of year we’d have in store for us. Over at Opinary, we’ve been keeping close to the hearts and minds of millions of readers across both sides of the pond, asking questions from masks to vaccines, Donald Trump to Boris Johnson, schools to hospitals, and Bill Gates to 5G.

Read on for our round up of our top polls of the year, and how people felt about them.


1. Coronavirus loomed large

It’s almost difficult to remember a time this year when coronavirus wasn’t affecting us. We crunched our data and found that the word coronavirus was used 837 times more than any other word in Opinary polls. In second place was lockdown (which unsurprisingly was declared word of the year by Collins Dictionary), followed by Trump, government, and then pandemic in fifth place (which Merriam-Webster chose as their word of the year).

Source: Opinary. Data pulled from 22k polls across the UK and the US. Total votes: 25 million. Average engagement rate 11.61%.


2. There were a lot of worried people

Since we began running the poll how worried are you about Covid-19? back in March, the majority of people you polled responded that they were worried about covid-19. However, we can see a large spike between May and June, likely attributed to the reopening of lockdowns across the world but rather interestingly, that this created more concern, not less. This was our most unified poll of the year.

Source: Opinary. Data pulled from 6 polls across UK & US publishers.. Total votes: 21,602. Average engagement rate 15.24%.


3. The arms race​

Since the WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on the 12th March, 2020, countries around the world have been racing to create a vaccine for it. The speed at which these vaccines were created caused a bit of concern about its safety, with anti-vaxxers worldwide discussing whether this was safe at all. Our results show that over a third of people believe that it was made too quickly, 15% were unsure and 58% believed that any vaccine is likely to be thoroughly tested before rollout. This was our most engaging poll of the year at an average rate of 23.04%.

Source: Opinary. Data pulled from 4 polls across UK & US publishers. Total votes: 7,389. Average engagement rate 23.04%.


4. Casting doubt

With the barrage of stats, facts and figures we’ve been bombarded with this year, many of us hailed the internet to be able to access such real-time information in a global health crisis but it didn’t come without a price. Misinformation and disinformation was rife, as were conspiracy theories, and even the surest amongst us had our doubts about the information we consumed. However, more than half of all readers believed they could tell coronavirus fact from coronavirus fiction, while 15% were unsure and nearly a quarter said they couldn’t tell what was real from fake.​

Source: Opinary. Data pulled from 2 polls across UK & US publishers. Total votes: 3,822. Average engagement rate 5.78%.


5. Polarising governments

Whether in the UK or the US, readers were split about how they felt about their government’s response to the pandemic. This was our most polarising poll of the year, although more readers in the US were dissatisfied with their government’s response to the pandemic than the UK.

Source: Opinary. Data pulled from 4 polls across UK & US publishers. Total votes: 31,057. Average engagement rate 18.34%.


6. Fight or flight

This poll was created as a response to a survey published by King’s College, London, back in April, 2020, that asked people whether they were accepting, suffering or resisting the lockdown measures. We wanted to do our own version of the poll and found that a larger majority of people were accepting the lockdown than in their study, with 79% of readers saying they were accepting the lockdown, 15% saying they were suffering and only 5% were resisting. This was our most voted poll of the year.

Source: Opinary. Data pulled from 3 polls across UK publishers. Total votes: 42789. Average engagement rate 15.77%.


6. Towards the future

With cities across the globe being hit hardest by coronavirus infections because of population and housing density, many people (those who could afford it), fled the cities. Housing markets for suburban and countryside homes rocketed, as the far-sighted amongst us foresaw the pandemic lasting a much longer time. Conversations about the future of cities and their purpose rose. Now that we’ve seen that a large proportion of the population can work from home as long as they have a steady internet connection, many of us are asking whether the pandemic has singled the end of cities as we know it. A third of people believe this, while 17% were unsure but the majority still believe that cities will continue to be the favoured choice. We wonder, just what kind of landscape 2021 will show us.

Source: Opinary. Data pulled from 2 polls across UK & US publishers. Total votes: 2368. Average engagement rate 9.18%.


We want to say a huge thank you to all our publisher partners this year who used our polls to get closer to their readers (and in turn, understand them better). We are looking forward to many exciting editorial and insight projects with you in 2021.

We wish you a healthy holiday season and a happy new year!
Best, Opinary Editorial Team x