Public opinion concerning governments' response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Cathy W.S. Chen, Tsai Hung Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives Governments around the world have implemented numerous policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research examines the political issues resulting in public opinion concerning their responses to the pandemic via an international perspective. The objectives of this study are to: (1) measure the association and determine whether differences in political support can be attributed to the presence of approval ratings during the pandemic, and to (2) identify exceptional cases based on statistical predictions. Methods We collect information from several open-sourced surveys conducted between June and September 2020 of public sentiment concerning governments' response toward COVID-19. The 11 countries in our sample account for over 50% of the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The study includes country-specific random effects to take into account the data's clustered structure. We consider "political partisanship"and "pre-pandemic approval ratings in 2019"as two potential explanatory variables and employ a mix-effect regression for bounded responses via variable transformation and the wild bootstrap resampling method. Results According to the wild bootstrap method, the mixed-effect regression explains 98% of the variation in approval ratings during the pandemic in September 2020. The findings reveal partisan polarization on COVID-19 policies in the U.S., with opposing supporters most likely to express negative sentiments toward the governing party. Conclusions The evidence suggests that approval ratings during the pandemic correlate to differences in political support and pre-pandemic approval ratings, as measured by approval ratings from the views between governing coalition supporters and opponents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0260062
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2022


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