GQR Global Survey for Freedom House Shows How the Pandemic is Also Causing a Crisis for Democracy

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

A new Freedom House report, Democracy Under Lockdown, released on October 2 reveals a setback for democracy during the pandemic as many governments and authoritarian leaders respond to the health crisis with new abuses of power, the silencing of critics and opposition parties, increased corruption, and changes to election rules.

The report is primarily based on a first-of-its-kind GQR survey of 398 experts on democracy and human rights issues in 105 countries across five continents. The survey was designed and analyzed by GQR Managing Partner Jeremy Rosner and GQR Vice President Brian Paler, with support from GQR staff Amanda Shewry.

Among the key findings, a strong 75-17% majority of these experts agree that “Overall, the coronavirus outbreak has been a setback for democracy and human rights in my main country of focus,” Even more troubling, they feel the democratic backsliding will be long-lasting – possibly even outlasting the health crisis itself. By a 64-23% margin, experts say the outbreak’s impact on democracy and human rights in their country of focus will be negative (as opposed to positive or neutral) over the next 3 to 5 years.

For more on the Freedom House/GQR study and survey:

  • The full report and survey findings can be found HERE.
  • An op-ed by Freedom House President Mike Abramowitz and GQR Managing Partner Jeremy Rosner, published today in Real Clear Politics, on what needs to be done to meet the challenge can be found HERE.
  • GQR’s additional commentary on the report as it relates to polls from around the world during the pandemic can be found in this week’s Pandemic Pollwatch HERE.