The early COVID-19 pandemic and democratic attitudes.

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Date: June 22, 2021
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 6)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 4,782 words
Lexile Measure: 1380L

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Abstract :

How does a public health crisis like a global pandemic affect political opinions in fragile democratic contexts? Research in political science suggests several possible public reactions to crisis, from retrospective anti-incumbency to rally 'round the flag effects to democratic erosion and authoritarianism. Which of these obtains depends on the nature of the crisis. We examine whether and how the onset of the global pandemic shifted public opinion toward the president, elections, and democracy in Haiti. We embedded two experiments in a phone survey administered to a nationally representative sample of Haitians in April-June 2020. We find that the early pandemic boosted presidential approval and intentions to vote for the incumbent president, consistent with a rally effect. These results show that a rally effect occurs even in the most unlikely of places-an unstable context in which the incumbent president is struggling to maintain order and support. At the same time, we find scant evidence that the onset of the pandemic eroded democratic attitudes, even in a context in which democracy rests on uncertain grounds.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A666063789