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Julie Hassing Nielsen

Julie Hassing Nielsen

Associate Professor | Senior Lecturer

Julie Hassing Nielsen

Democratic Preferences and the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Julie Hassing Nielsen
  • Finn Hedefalk

Summary, in English

Did the political COVID-19 pandemic impact levels of populism? And did a potential effect travel across different national pandemic strategies? Populism is characterized by a growing antagonistic elite-population gap, which might be further triggered by top-down pandemic legislation. Using large-n panel survey data from Denmark and Sweden, being two similar Scandinavian universal welfare states that nevertheless adapted two very dissimilar pandemic strategies, we explore how populism evolved during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, relying on national census and geocoded telecom data, we explore if the evolution of populism is related to civil disobedience to pandemic regulations. We show that populism significantly rose in both countries between March-June 2020. Yet, this evolution remains untied to ideology, inter-regional geography, and the spread of contamination. The findings highlight severe democratic consequences of pandemic legislation across both open and voluntary pandemic strategies as well as more closed lockdowns.


  • Department of Political Science
  • Centre for Economic Demography
  • Department of Economic History

Publishing year




Document type





  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


  • Covid-19
  • populism
  • survey data
  • Geographical information system
  • comparative politics