27 August 2020   Leave a comment

The Pew Research Center has conducted a poll in several countries on how citizens rate their government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The range of results is huge, but not especially surprising. The Center reports:

“Across the 14 countries surveyed, a median of 73% say that their own country has done a good job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Just 27% believe their country has handled it poorly. However, there is some variation by country on this assessment.

“About seven-in-ten or more give their nation’s coronavirus response a positive review in Denmark, Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Italy and Sweden. And more than half in Belgium, France, Japan and Spain share this sentiment.

“In two countries – the United Kingdom and the United States – people are divided in their beliefs when it comes to rating their government’s performance responding to the coronavirus. These two nations also have high levels of political polarization on views of the government’s handling of this crisis. In the U.S., 76% of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party say the government has done a good job, while just a quarter of Democrats and Democratic leaners agree, a 51 percentage point difference. A majority of right-leaning Britons (55%) give a positive rating to their country’s handling of the pandemic, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, but just 26% on the left hold the same opinion.”

Another finding of the poll is quite striking: there is a strong correlation between those who think their government has done a good job in addressing the pandemic and their assessment of the economy in their country:

“Economies around the world have contracted due to the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus outbreak, and the U.S. Congressional Research Service reports that the global economy could grow between 3% and 6% less in 2020 compared with previous projections. These economic effects also relate to how people assess their own nation’s handling of the pandemic. Across all 14 nations included in the survey, those who think their current national economic situation is good are also more likely than those who believe the economy is bad to say their country has done a good job of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

“This divergence is especially pronounced in the United States. Among those with a more optimistic view of the economy, 78% report that they approve of the way the U.S. government has dealt with the virus. But those who think the American economy is currently in poor shape are less than half as likely to give the government response a positive rating.”

One surprising result of the poll is that younger Americans tend to think that there would have been fewer coronavirus deaths if the US had cooperated with other countries and international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Americans on the whole say that more cooperation could have limited the number of coronavirus cases. A majority (58%) of U.S. adults say that if the U.S. had cooperated with more countries, the number of American coronavirus cases would have been lower.

Younger people see more value in international cooperation to reduce number of coronavirus cases

“Much as younger people globally tend to have more favorable opinions of the UN and younger Americans give higher approval ratings to the WHO for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, those ages 18 to 29 are more likely than those 50 and older to say that more cooperation would have reduced the number of coronavirus cases in their country.”

The views of people in the European Union (EU) on the coronavirus also reflects the different opinions that many in Europe have of the Union itself. It seems as if it is impossible to view the pandemic from a non-political point of view. That conclusion is dispiriting.

Posted August 27, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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