Partisanship and the Pandemic
Do voters accurately evaluate government performance and responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic, or does partisan bias get in the way?
The research of Professor Geoff Evans and Dan Snow, Research Officer at Nuffield Politics Research Centre, employs an experimental approach to understand the implications of partisan bias on voters' evaluations of the:
- UK's overall experience of the pandemic
- Government's responsibility for pandemic outcomes
- Memories of the government's early handling of the pandemic
- Optimism about the government's ability to handle future strains of coronavirus
Initial results suggest that many partisans have already incorporated some degree of bias into their evaluations, particularly individuals with high levels of political attention. There is also evidence that, in general, voters rely heavily on heuristics when recounting the government's past performance, even for an issue as recent and salient as the start of the coronavirus pandemic.