Published on 18 January 2022
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Populist politics lost support globally during the pandemic, research finds

Research shows support for populist politics ‘collapsed’ during the pandemic but satisfaction with democracy also continued to falter, with citizens increasingly favouring technocratic sources of authority, such as having “non-political” experts take decisions.

A third flagship report by the Centre for the Future of Democracy says there are clear signs that the so-called “populist wave” — which saw radical and anti-establishment leaders, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, rise to power — could be diminishing. The study is based on a mega-dataset survey of more than half a million participants’ political attitudes since 2020 across 109 countries.

The pandemic has brought good and bad news for liberal democracy. On the upside, we see a decline in populism and a restoration of trust in government. On the downside, some illiberal attitudes are increasing, and satisfaction with democracy remains very low.”

Dr Roberto Foa, Co-Director of the Centre for the Future of Democracy, University of Cambridge

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The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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