Anti-Covid Battles: Johnson‘s Chief Loser in European Satisfaction Index

Written by | Friday, June 12th, 2020
@Eubulletin

Satisfaction levels all across the continent have risen and fallen: most Europeans now trust their leaders, generally speaking, a little less than when the crisis began, but nowhere have they plunged as for Boris Johnson’s UK government. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, leaders seen as having managed Covid-19 the most successfully, have suffered slight dips in popular satisfaction since the peak of the pandemic. And while the French President Emmanuel Macron has seen more significant dips, but his popular satisfaction rates have since recovered, only Boris Johnson‘s government’s approval rating has has seen public trust plunge by as much as 30%, according to YouGov’s Covid-19 perception tracker.
As the coronavirus crisis gathered pace in Europe in mid-April, the personal approval ratings of the continent’s leaders, including Boris Johnson, soared under the “rally round the flag” effect – a concept used by political scientists to explain increased short-run popular support of a country’s leader during a period of crisis or war. Since peaking at 88% in Denmark, 72% in Germany and 54% in France, the approval ratings have only somewhat eased as governments began the tricky process of gradually easing restrictions and voters have became more sceptical. The only exception is the UK, with the record death toll of more than 50,000, that has seen satisfaction levels with Boris Johnson’s government collapse spectacularly, from 72% in mid-March to 41% this week.
The next few weeks and months will show if these generally high popular satisfaction levels can be sustained amid the latest (10 June) warning by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that the global economy will suffer the biggest peacetime downturn in a century before it emerges from a coronavirus-inflicted recession next year. While predicting that the global economy would contract 6% this year before bouncing back with 5.2% growth next year, the OECD also warned that a second wave of contagion this year could see the global economy contract 7.6% before growing only 2.8% in 2021. Also Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), spelled out the scale of the economic crisis across Europe caused by the coronavirus pandemic during a meeting of European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee – she stressed that the “unprecedented crisis” was the worst in peacetime and was “of no one’s fault or making but is one that will affect everyone.”

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