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Pre-pandemic insight provides invaluable benchmark for the future

The World Risk Poll was conducted in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll therefore provides a unique benchmark of global attitudes to risk and safety against which later surveys can be measured.

Understanding of risk has driven global behaviours throughout the pandemic. The World Risk Poll data emphasise the importance of tailoring messages to ensure that different segments of the population are empowered to understand risk and know what they can do to make their lives safer.

The poll shows us that the way people feel about risks can be different from the actual likelihood of a risk causing harm. The findings reveal what is driving these perceptions, offering invaluable insight for those designing risk policies and communications for the pandemic.

The next waves of the World Risk Poll will include questions focussing on the pandemic, looking at how it has shaped world attitudes to safety, risk and other measures such as trust in governments.

Paul Slovic

“An unexpected benefit of the World Risk Poll is the timing of the survey. Conducted in 2019, it documents attitudes and opinions formed in the pre-COVID era. Comparisons between the current data and those from the next World Risk Poll, scheduled for 2021, will provide a valuable glimpse at how the powerful pandemic has affected people everywhere.”

Paul Slovic
University of Oregon