Partisanship influences how people view pandemic response - report

A Pew Research Center survey found that people's views of their government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic are heavily influenced by partisanship.

 SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19 (Illustrative). (photo credit: fusion medical animation/unsplash)
SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19 (Illustrative).
(photo credit: fusion medical animation/unsplash)

Political partisanship plays a significant role in coloring people's views of their countries' COVID-19 response, according to a new survey published on Thursday by Pew Research Center.

The survey was conducted in 19 countries and accounted for 24,525 adults between February 14 and June 3, 2022.

The researchers found that a median of 68% of respondents has a positive view of their country's COVID-19 response. Furthermore, a median of 61% thinks their country is more polarized now than it was before the pandemic, while a median of 32% think their country is more united.

A majority of respondents in every country surveyed except Japan think that their country did a good job handling the pandemic.

The United States had the highest share of respondents who think their country is more divided than it was before the pandemic, at 81%.

Additionally, a majority of respondents across the 19 countries said that their country is failing to effectively handle the pandemic in ways that show the weaknesses of their political system, with a median of 52%, while a median of 44% said that their country is handling the pandemic effectively in ways that demonstrate their political system's strengths.

  Ambulances parked amid the COVID-19 pandemic outside the Royal London Hospital in London (credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE) Ambulances parked amid the COVID-19 pandemic outside the Royal London Hospital in London (credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE)

Partisanship

Pew Research Center emphasized that all of these opinions are heavily influenced by partisanship. In almost every country surveyed, supporters of the governing party are much more likely to say that their country is handling COVID-19 well, that it is handling the pandemic in ways that show the strengths of the political system and that their country is more united than before the pandemic than people who do not support the governing party, the organization said.

For instance, Polish people who support the ruling Law and Justice party are at least twice as likely to say that their country has done a good job, that their country is united and that the pandemic has highlighted the strengths of the political system than those who do not support the party.