Global Public Opinion and Populism during the COVID-19 Pandemic

We provide the first global overview of how the pandemic has changed political attitudes and beliefs. We find strong evidence that the pandemic has blunted the rise of populism, including support for populist parties, approval of leaders, and agreement with populist attitudes. However, we also find a disturbing erosion of support for core democratic beliefs and principles, including less liberal attitudes with respect to basic civil rights and liberties and weaker preference for democratic government.

Publications:

Outreach: CNBC, The Times, The Times, Euronews, El Mundo, El Periódico, CNN Portugal, TSF Rádio, The Print, Financial Times, Radio France Internacional, El Nacional, Expresso, Folha de S.Paulo, The Guardian, Il Foglio, El Español, Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung. China Daily, Forbes Centroamérica, Excélsior, Bloomberg, Washington Post, El día, Nexo, RTP Noticias, El Independiente, Swiss Info, Cadena Ser, La Vanguardia.

Redistributive preferences in Europe

Relying on a large collection of national and international surveys, we estimate new aggregate measures of public opinion on redistribution. First, we examine if, when and how the support for redistribution differs across income groups. A time-series cross-sectional analysis of data on aggregate preferences from seven advanced democracies (1980s-2017) enables a study the longitudinal dynamics of the redistributive preferences and of the different responses to inequality by low and higher-income strata. Additionally, we study the extent to which governments respond to changes in preferences across income groups and therefore whether we find unequal responsiveness in the field of redistribution.

Publications:

  • Romero-Vidal & Van Hauwaert (2021). “Polarisation between the rich and the poor? The dynamics and structure of redistributive preferences in a comparative perspective”, International Journal of Public Opinion Research.
  • Romero-Vidal (2021) “Measuring objective and subjective class: The effects of survey questionnaires on the study of class voting”, Political Research Exchange.

Work-in-progress:

  • “Unequal (public) responses to inequality. The structure and origins of redistributive preferences across Western democracies”, with Steven M. Van Hauwaert.
  • “Responsive to whom? The effects of party ideology and income-group preferences on redistributive policies”, with Steven M. Van Hauwaert.

Sub-national public opinion: Support for independence in Catalonia and Scotland

Using a mixed-methods approach, I aim to uncover the mechanisms behind the sudden increase in support for independence observed over the “austerity decade” in Catalonia and Scotland. I study the extent to which the public responds orderly to both national and regional political stimuli and economic events. Additionally, I explore the relationship between shifts in sovereignty preferences and the ideological changes at the aggregate level.

Publications:

  • Romero-Vidal (2020). “Two temperatures for one thermostat: The evolution of policy attitudes and support for independence in Catalonia (1991-2018)”, Nations and Nationalism.
  • Romero-Vidal (2018). El efecto de las crisis económicas y la acción gubernamental en las preferencias de políticas públicas en Cataluña.  Quaderns de l’ICPS; 15. Barcelona: Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials (ICPS).

Outreach:

  • Mirando al centro, de Carles Castro. La Vanguardia, 3/09/2018.
  • La misteriosa desaparición de la derecha en Cataluña: ¿todos se han hecho de izquierda?, by Héctor G. Barnés. El Confidencial, 9/02/2021.

Work-in-progress:

  • “Austerity and Independence: A Paired Comparison of Catalonia and Scotland”, with Sebastian Dellepiane Avellaneda and Anthony McGann.

The religious dimension of party politics

Scholars usually rely on the assumption that populist radical right parties refer to Christian values and traditions in more than mainstream parties. Yet, the role of religion in party communications has little empirical research. This research project attempts to fill this gap by analysing religious references of 36 political parties in seven Western European democracies (Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Switzerland) in order to test this assumption. In particular, it focuses on the salience of references to Christianity and Islam as well as on the type of evaluation of these religions in election manifestos and on Facebook.

Publications:

Outreach:

  • “Religious discourses in Europe: how different is the Far-Right?” Schwörer & Romero-Vidal (2020). Right Now!, C-REX – Center for Research on Extremism, University of Oslo
  • “The religious dimensions of the Spanish left: Parties and electorates” Romero-Vidal & Schwörer (2021). Agenda Pública (El País) In Spanish) / In English.

Understanding political elites’ perceptions and preferences

Relying on survey responses from over 7,500 members of Latin American parliaments, we study the individual-level characteristics influencing political elites’ views on different issues. In this first paper, we study ideological differences in elites’ trust towards the military, and how it has evolved as a function of the regional economic and political context.
 

Publications:

  • Márquez Romo & Romero-Vidal  (2022). El giro a la izquierda y las fuerzas armadas: convergencia y polarización ideológica en América Latina. Revista Española De Sociología, 31(2), a104.

Outreach: