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Where’s ‘freedom’ from here? Canada’s convoy protests are over, but the anger remains

Summary

A team of researchers at Cambridge University’s Centre for the Future of Democracy recently came to some counterintuitive findings. Using a massive dataset from 27 countries and 81,857 survey respondents, the team suggested the COVID-19 pandemic may have halted the […]

A team of researchers at Cambridge University’s Centre for the Future of Democracy recently came to some counterintuitive findings.

Using a massive dataset from 27 countries and 81,857 survey respondents, the team suggested the COVID-19 pandemic may have halted the rise of populism and populist leaders across the world. Political polarization over the period appears to have declined — a populist leader’s mishandling of the pandemic led to an average 10 percentage point drop in approval rating.

“Support for key populist attitudes – such as belief in the ‘will of the people’ or that society is divided between ordinary people and a ‘corrupt elite’ – has declined in almost every country,” the researchers reported.

“While support for democracy has weakened and satisfaction with democracy remains fragile, the post-pandemic environment is likely to prove a more difficult environment for populist politicians to mobilize and sustain support.”

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