Crisis Signaling: How Italy's Coronavirus Lockdown Affected Incumbent Support in Other European Countries
by Catherine E. De Vries in collaboration with University of Amsterdam, London School of Economics and Temple University
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unparalleled global crisis. Yet, despite the grave adversity citizens face, governments around the world are experiencing rising popularity. In this paper, we examine how the government response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy has affected incumbent support in other European countries. Specifically, we examine how compare how people taking part in online surveys in France, Germany, Poland and Spain who were interviewed before the first country-wide lockdown on European soil in Italy on March 9, 2020 differed from those interviewed after in terms of their expressed support for their national government. Our results suggest that support for the government in France, Germany, Poland and Spain increased after the Italian lockdown. Importantly, these findings suggest governments can benefit from a crisis, at least in the short term, even when their own performance in response to the crisis is not yet fully clear.