Approval ratings of political leaders surged in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In the days and weeks with high numbers of new COVID-19 cases there were also large boosts to leader approval. These results support a “rally ’round the flag” phenomenon in which citizens rally around their leaders during times of crisis and may have voting implications.
Data analyzed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the National University of Singapore reveal world leaders, on average, experienced a 14-point boost in approval.
Citizens tend to support their leaders in times of national crisis, such as war or terrorist attack, but the new study is the first to identify a rally effect during a health crisis — one that’s been deadly and destructive across the globe.