The New Normal?

The New Normal?  is a new 7-country report drawing from a survey of 14,000 people on the impacts of COVID-19 on trust, social cohesion, democracy and expectations for an uncertain future in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Poland.

COVID-19 has up ended the lives of people across the world, causing untold suffering and dislocation, with a death toll expected to exceed one million within days. The virus and its aftermath could result in societies becoming more deeply divided, but that is not inevitable. This study shows that COVID-19 has unleashed hopes for change in many societies. It has also made us more aware of our shared humanity, the value of strong local communities and the importance of our connection to nature.

Many choices lie ahead as we grapple with the fallout of the pandemic. The decisions being made in the months ahead – in our families, communities and nations – will have consequences for a generation.

Key findings

  • The pandemic has created a new sense togetherness, making us more aware of our shared humanity and of the living conditions of others. At the same time, many worry about their societies becoming more divided in the future.

  • Many feel that COVID-19 has changed us into more caring societies, although the experience of COVID-19 in the US is different – reflecting deep polarization, anxiety for the future and dismay at the Administration’s mismanagement.

  • Looking at populations through the lens of More in Common’s national segmentations, the disengaged or ‘Invisibles’ segments have felt to more isolation, loneliness and lack of support throughout COVID-19 – an early warning signal about the vulnerabilities that authoritarian populists might exploit as the economic crisis deepens.

  • In most countries, nine out of ten people are respecting public health guidelines on face masks and social distancing. But in all countries, public perceptions exaggerate the extent to which others are not following the rules, with the French and British public in particular holding wildly inaccurate views. These misperceptions are contributing to an erosion of social trust.

  • People in the US, UK, France and Poland feel deeply disappointed by their government’s handling of the crisis so far, while Germans and Dutch feel pride.

  • As a result, confidence in the government's ability to tackle future crises is low everywhere except for Germany and the Netherlands.

  • The pandemic has revived a spirit of localism, with greater pride in local communities and less erosion of trust in local governments.

  • While there is disappointment with the EU’s handling of COVID-19, majorities still see its relevance and support European and multilateral cooperation over ‘go-it-alone' approaches -- including taking on common debt within the EU.

  • In countries hardest hit by the pandemic, people have hopes for profound change but few, aside from Americans, believe that change is likely to happen.

  • The changes to our lives since the onset of the pandemic have re-connected people with nature, and re-awakened people to the way human activity affects the environment. This has translated into climate issues becoming more salient, reflected in broad support for policies like a Green Deal.

  • People see economic recovery programs as an opportunity to shift norms on climate, tax and wages.


Comparative 7-country report 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇮🇹🇳🇱🇵🇱🇬🇧🇺🇸

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The Netherlands 🇳🇱

Poland 🇵🇱

United Kingdom 🇬🇧

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