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Covid-19 mismanagement unlikely to affect voting behavior in next election: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 24, 2020 Published on October 24, 2020

researchers believe the Covid-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to observe the interplay between public opinion and electoral politics

A new study revealed that politicians are unlikely to face consequences in the next election for their mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. They will also not reap any benefits for effectively managing the outbreak in their respective countries.

The researchers said that health is often politicised. However, it is unclear if public health issues influence public opinion, and if these opinions might translate into voting behaviour.

The speculation comes despite the fact that most respondents feel that health is a key policy area and that their government is to blame for the spread of Covid-19.

The study, which forms part of a BMJ Collection on Democracy and Health, was published in the online journal BMJ Global Health.

 

The researchers believe that the Covid-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to observe the interplay between public opinion and electoral politics.

Researchers wrote: How political leaders and parties have handled the pandemic has been front and centre of news coverage, suggesting that if public health matters to voting intentions, Covid-19 would seem to be a perfect storm.

For the study, the researchers carried out surveys on the health and economic impacts of the pandemic in the United States (US), UK, and India from mid-April to early June. They recruited around 3000 participants.

 

The survey noted that over 85 per cent of respondents agreed that health was a key policy area for which their government had some responsibility.

More than half the respondents thought their government was to blame for the spread of the pandemic. However, those given key facts about the pandemic were no more likely to favour or disfavour the incumbent government, or blame it for the pandemic, than those in the comparison group---producing a 'null' result.

They wrote further: "The null findings contained in this study suggest that politicians are unlikely to be punished or rewarded for their failures or successes in managing Covid-19 in the next election."

"If public health is politically inconsequential, this also raises questions about the impact of political institutions on health outcomes," they added.

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Published on October 24, 2020
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