PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
The rise of COVID-19 cases is associated with support for world leaders
Kai Chi Yam, Joshua Conrad Jackson, Christopher M. Barnes, Jenson Lau, Xin Qin, and Hin Yeung Lee
PNAS first published September 24, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2009252117
Amid the present COVID-19 pandemic, we find that many citizens around the world “rally ‘round the flag” and increase their support for their respective political leaders. We observe these findings among countries that are culturally and geographically diverse, and even among leaders who are strongly disliked by citizens prior to the pandemic. Our findings could have important voting implications during or immediately after the pandemic. As an example, the Korean ruling party won the most seats in the house by any party since 1960 in an election held during the pandemic in April 2020. COVID-19 might thus serve as a catalyst to help some incumbent governments.