The Demand and Supply of Pandemic Populism: A Global Overview

The review article provides an overview of the literature on the interplay between populism and the pandemic. On the demand side, we highlight: anti-science attitudes are an important element of populist, anti-establishment sentiments; conspiracy theories are closely associated with populist scepticism of science and expertise; partisanship and media diet tend to shape behaviours and beliefs towards COVID-19 and mitigation measures. On the supply side, we first highlight some differences between the main types of populists in opposition terms of issues such as attitudes towards the government. Second, we show that while many populist parties and leaders in power engage in denialism, blame-avoiding and blame-shifting, context and responsiveness help explain variation across time and countries in adopting or lifting restrictions. Depending on structural conditions (economy, health care system), right-wing and left-wing populists in power might adopt similar responses, including seeking and succeeding in aggrandizing power by (further) dismantling checks and balances.