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Rally Effect in the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Role of Affectedness, Fear, and Partisanship

In: German Politics: 1–21


Melanie Dietz, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Philipp Scherer & Lars-Christopher Stövsand


When the Covid-19 pandemic hit internationally in March 2020, governments and political incumbents received exceptionally high approval ratings. Such a sudden spike of public support in times of crisis is often explained as the ‘rally ‘round the flag’ effect. This paper has three goals: first, to examine whether a rally effect indeed occurred; second, to analyse whether and how much it is related to (i) affectedness, i.e. the occurrence of infections on individual and aggregate level, and (ii) fear of Covid-19; and third, to examine an assumed moderating effect of partisanship. We merged individual survey data from an online survey conducted in September 2020 as part of the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) with infection rates on the state level (Bundesländer) published by the Robert Koch Institute. We detect a striking rally effect in all partisan camps. Furthermore, we identify fear of Covid-19 as the driving mechanism while there is no evidence that affectedness is a major force behind the rally effect. Furthermore, we show that partisanship takes on a moderating role for fear of Covid-19 regarding satisfaction with government.


Dietz, Melanie, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Philipp Scherer und Lars-Christopher Stövsand. 2021. Rally Effect in the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Role of Affectedness, Fear, and Partisanship. In: German Politics: 1–21. doi: 10.1080/09644008.2021.2016707.

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