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‘Less democratic’ Asian nations satisfied with govt Covid response as public opinion in Europe suffers ‘severe downturn’ – study

‘Less democratic’ Asian nations satisfied with govt Covid response as public opinion in Europe suffers ‘severe downturn’ – study
People’s satisfaction with the Covid-19 response in “more democratic” Europe has “dropped sharply” in 2021 compared to last year, while people in “less democratic” Asia have “remained consistently positive,” finds a global survey.

The survey, titled the Democracy Perception Index (DPI), was conducted by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation and brand tracking firm Latana. It found “the vast majority” of people in “less democratic” Asian countries still had faith in their government’s Covid-19 response measures a year after the pandemic began, remaining “just as satisfied” in 2021 as they were in 2020 (75% vs. 77%).

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Among the most satisfied were China, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia. The report explains that the satisfaction was dependent on the country’s death rate per capita – of the 53 countries polled, it was lowest in China and Vietnam.

The survey also found that public approval had actually grown in some countries, including Russia and Chile. Both nations have rolled out mass vaccination campaigns, Russia using its own Sputnik V, and Chile China’s CoronaVac, manufactured by Sinovac.

However, it points out that overall approval levels worldwide had dropped from about 70% to 58%, and the downturn had been “even more severe in more democratic countries.” In Europe, for example, the level of approval had plummeted to 45%. According to the report, the least satisfied countries were Italy, France, and Poland. Dissatisfaction is also on the rise in Latin America.

The survey also examined people’s opinions of Covid-19 restrictions and discovered that many felt their government was increasingly limiting their basic freedoms. According to the findings, this year, 53% of people around the world reported feeling state intervention had gone too far, while, last year, this figure stood at 45%. The report points out that concern at the restrictions had increased most in Europe, especially in Hungary, France, and Ireland, although it was still higher overall in less democratic countries (60%).

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We now need to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic by delivering more democracy and freedom to people,” said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO secretary general who is now chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, which carried out the poll.

The DPI is the world’s largest annual study on democracy, being representative of more than 75% of the world’s population. This year’s online survey polled more than 53,000 individuals in 53 countries between February 24 and April 14.

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