Published on 14 January 2022
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The Great Reset: Public Opinion, Populism, and the Pandemic

New report by the Centre for the Future of Democracy shows how support for populist politics ‘collapsed’ during the pandemic but satisfaction with democracy also continued to falter.

Executive Summary

In this report, we provide the first global overview of how the pandemic has changed political attitudes and beliefs. We use data collected by YouGov from 27 countries and 81,857 individuals during the 2020-21 pandemic, together with data compiled by HUMAN Surveys from 79 sources and over 8 million individuals from 169 countries and 6,845 national surveys since 1958.

We find strong evidence that the pandemic has blunted the rise of populism, including support for populist parties, approval of leaders, and agreement with populist attitudes. However, we also find a disturbing erosion of support for core democratic beliefs and principles, including less liberal attitudes with respect to basic civil rights and liberties and weaker preference for democratic government.


Dr Xavier Romero-Vidal

Research Associate

Xavier Romero-Vidal is a Visiting Scholar at POLIS, studying the drivers of democratic legitimacy across countries and over time. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the Leuphana University...

Dr Roberto Foa

Assistant Professor in Politics and Public Policy

Roberto Stefan Foa is an Assistant Professor in Politics and Public Policy. He obtained his BA from the University of Oxford and PhD from Harvard University. He is currently a...

Dr Andrew Klassen

Affiliated Researcher

Dr Klassen is the Principal Researcher for the Human Understanding Measured Across National (HUMAN) Surveys project, which merges, formats, and harmonizes individual level data from multiple cross-national public opinion surveys....

Lisa Sophie Fenner

Lisa Sophie Fenner is a Research Assistant the Centre for the Future of Democracy and a PhD Researcher in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. In her...

Joaquín Fuenzalida Concha

Joaquín Fuenzalida Concha is an engineer with an MPP at the University of Oxford and an MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics at UCL. His current research focuses on political...

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