Global study about COVID-19: Dalia assesses how the world ranks their governments’ response to the pandemic

Global research about COVID-19: how do people judge their governments’ response to the pandemic?

  • Dalia unveils the single largest global public research on COVID-19 – focusing on people’s perception of their governments’ reaction.
  • 32,631 people in 45 countries judge their governments’ efforts to battle COVID-19.
  • Almost half the world (43%) say their government is doing too little in response to the outbreak.
  • However, citizens in eight out 45 countries surveyed believe on average that their governments are overreacting and doing ‘too much’ in response.
  • Two fifths of the global population (40%) believe their government is doing the ‘right amount’ to combat the pandemic.
  • China and Italy fare well, where citizens rank their governments efforts above average to be  the ‘right amount’ (56% and 49% respectively).
  • As the US overtakes China with most confirmed cases, 19% of the US population believe the government is doing ‘too much’ in response.
  • France and Spain are above the global average for considering their government response to be ‘too little’ (64% and 66% respectively).

People feel their governments should take stronger action against COVID-19, Dalia’s research in 45 countries finds

Research question: “Think about your government’s reaction to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) right now. Do you believe measures taken are too much or too little?”

Public opinion data from 45 countries about public judgement on their governments' response to COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges faced by the world. With over 500,000 infections confirmed globally, the death toll is already in the tens of thousands. This pandemic is stretching national health systems and the global economy to breaking point. 

National governments have been forced to take unprecedented action.  Whether that is enforcing shutdowns affecting millions of their citizens, or unveiling fiscal stimulus packages worth billions of dollars – they must react to this pandemic.

Dalia Research unveils the biggest public survey on COVID-19 to understand how the world views the actions taken by their governments. Covering over 32,000 respondents in 45 countries, spanning all continents, the data shows that almost half of the citizens surveyed want more government action. 

Dalia is excited to unveil the first in-depth global opinion survey on the COVID 19 pandemic. This is an unprecedented global crisis that requires global insight. Dalia is one of the only organisations that can provide that. This data should be harnessed by all governments and businesses to make better decisions in this time of uncertainty.”

Stephanie Clapham, Research Manager at Dalia

Other key findings include:

Results reveal that on a global level, people are expecting more from their governments in reaction to the COVID-19 situation: across the 45 countries surveyed, 43% of people say their government is doing too little in response, ranging from 79% in Thailand to 13% in Vietnam.

Governments doing ‘too little’ in response:

Thailand 79%, Chile 76%, Spain 66%, France 64%,  Japan 64% When asked for the assessment and approval of their government’s reaction to COVID-19, over a third of the countries surveyed are above average for thinking their government is doing ‘too little’. This is most drastically noticed in Thailand and Chile. On a global level, 17% of people consider their government reaction to be “far too little”.

Selected Countries People in Japan expect much more action from their government. The US is among the highest for “government does too much”.

(Bundled scale:  “too little” = “far too little” + “a bit too little”; “too much” = “far too much” + “a bit too much”; missing to 100%: “don’t know”)


Governments doing ‘too much’ in response:

Saudi Arabia 34%, Malaysia 26%, Egypt 25%, Morocco 25%,  USA 19%. In contrast, eight out of the 45 countries surveyed are above average for believing their governments to be overreacting to the situation and doing ‘too much’ in response to the situation. A belief most notably shared by Saudi Arabia. 

Government is doing ‘right amount’ in response

Vietnam 62%, Argentina 61%, Austria 58%, Singapore 57%,  China 56%, South Africa 56%. Certain countries are happy with their government’s reaction to the COVID-19 spread, with two fifths of the global population (40%) believing their government is doing the ‘right amount’ in response to the situation. This is most notable in Vietnam and Argentina. 

Country Specific: Responded ‘Don’t know’ to government assessment.

India 13%, Vietnam 13%, Japan 13%, Pakistan 11%,  Morocco 11%. Generally, global opinions were strong with only 6% of the population surveyed not voicing an opinion either way. Certain countries were more likely to feel not informed enough to make a judgment however, with India, Vietnam, and Japan being highest.

Continental differences:

On a continent-level, both Europe and North America are above average for considering their governments to be doing ‘too little’ to address COVID-19. North America’s opinion is largely driven by Mexico (with 60% of its population saying ‘too little’). Asia, the Middle East and Africa are all below average for sharing this opinion of government under-reaction.

COVID-19 development phase:

Nuances in reaction to government response vary greatly depending on the stage of outbreak and containment of the virus. For example, both China and Italy, whose countries are in a later stage of development, are both above average for thinking their government reaction is the ‘right amount’, at 56% and 49% respectively. 

Conversely, countries in the midst of experiencing accelerated outbreak, such as France and Spain, are above average for considering government response to be ‘too little’, at 64% and 66% respectively. 

Countries - by progress of the pandemic


Request full data via covid-19(at)daliaresearch(dot)com


Contact for this project

Christoph Dölitzsch
Insights Innovation Lead

Stephanie Clapham
Research Manager

Global COVID-19 Omnibus

Dalia is running a weekly omnibus in 50 countries.

Reach out for more info – no matter whether you are business, journalist, researcher or working for the public sector.

  • How does the pandemic affect demand and usage in your segment?
  • How do people react to their governments’ measures? Do they comply?
  • What do consumers expect from brands and companies during times of crisis?
  • What impact has the pandemic on your field of work?

Let’s find out together:

Reach out for more info  Join Global COVID-19 Omnibus




Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted by Dalia Research between March 24th and March 26th 2020 in the following countries and regions (alphabetical list):
Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam

The total sample size is n= 32,631. Every country had a minimum of 500 respondents. Nationally representative results were calculated based on the official distribution of age, gender and, in certain countries, education level for each country’s population, sourced from most recent and available data from Barro Lee & UNStat.

Survey Question
Survey respondents were asked, “Think about your government’s reaction to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) right now. Do you believe measures taken are too much or too little?”; answer options ranged from “Far too little” to “Far too much”. Respondents were also permitted to choose “I don’t know.”