The Dutch have become more pessimistic about each other since the start of the coronavirus crisis but are still ‘significantly’ more confident about politicians and politics, according to new research by the government’s socio-cultural policy think-tank SCP.
The year 2020, the SCP said, can be characterised as one of fluctuations.
‘In April, people were more optimistic about the Netherlands, thanks to the good coronavirus figures at the time, the intelligent lockdown and the strong sense of togetherness,’ the SCP said. ‘By October, the mood had changed and pessimism prevailed.’
In particular people are concerned that others are not keeping to the coronavirus measures, about the gulfs emerging between young and old and rich and poor, the economic impact and the consequences of long-term stress and isolation, the SCP said.
Confidence in politics also rose sharply at the start of the crisis, but fell in July and October, the SCP said. However, it still remains significantly higher than in January 2020.
‘The rise in confidence in government that we saw in the spring stems from waning cynicism,’ the SCP said. People are now more positive about politicians’ competences and are more likely to think they are acting in the national interest, the think-tank said.
Although criticism has increased in the autumn, with people more likely to doubt the government’s strategy, a clear majority still back stricter measures. In particular, people who are afraid of catching coronavirus have more confidence in politicians, the survey found.
The SCP carries out detailed research into public opinion for its quarterly barometer every three months.