Political Polarization During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Faculty/Professorship: Political Sociology  
Author(s): Jungkunz, Sebastian  
Title of the Journal: Frontiers in Political Science
ISSN: 2673-3145
Publisher Information: Lausanne : Frontiers Media
Year of publication: 2021
Volume: 3
Pages: 1-8
Language(s): English
Artikelnummer 622512
DOI: 10.3389/fpos.2021.622512
Affective polarization has increased substantially in the United States and countries of Europe over the last decades and the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have the potential to drastically reinforce such polarization. I investigate the degree and dynamic of affective polarization during the COVID-19 pandemic through a two-wave panel survey with a vignette experiment in Germany fielded in April/May and July/August 2020. I 1) compare the findings to a previous study from 2017, and 2) assess how economic distress due to the crisis changes perceptions of other partisans. Results show that the public today experiences slightly stronger polarization between AfD voters and supporters of other parties. Yet, higher economic distress decreases the negative sentiment of voters of other parties towards AfD supporters. I argue that experiencing economic distress increases the awareness of political debate and the responsiveness to government decisions. Thus, in times of broad cross-party consensus, this can translate into public opinion so that it makes people less hostile towards other partisans.
GND Keywords: Deutschland; Polarisierung; COVID-19-Pandemie
Keywords: COVID-19, polarization, attitudes, affective, Germany
DDC Classification: 320 Political Science  
RVK Classification: MG 15070   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Open Access Journal: Ja
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/54612
Release Date: 14. July 2022