The effect of COVID-19 lockdowns on political support: Some good news for democracy?

Damien Bol, Marco Giani, André Blais, Peter John Loewen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

245 Citations (Scopus)
398 Downloads (Pure)


Major crises can act as critical junctures or reinforce the political status quo, depending on how citizens view the performance of central institutions. We use an interrupted time series to study the political effect of the enforcement of a strict confinement policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we take advantage of a unique representative web-based survey that was fielded in March and April 2020 in Western Europe to compare the political support of those who took the survey right before and right after the start of the lockdown in their country. We find that lockdowns have increased vote intentions for the party of the Prime Minister/President, trust in government and satisfaction with democracy. Furthermore, we find that, while rallying individuals around current leaders and institutions, they have had no effect on traditional left–right attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Issue number0
Early online date31 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2020


  • COVID-19
  • democracy
  • public opinion


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