Super Trouper Swedes sour

By Ian Silvera, Account Director

The Swedes are no longer shining like the sun or smiling, having fun when it comes to their government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis. 

The Scandinavian nation, formerly best known for meatballs, ABBA and flat-pack furniture, has become famous the world over for taking a rather laid-back – almost horizontal – approach to the novel Coronavirus outbreak. 

People have been told to keep their distance and large gatherings have been banned, but there has been no lockdown, with schools and cafes staying open. 

The country’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell is unrepentant, most recently hitting back at the World Health Organisaiton after it claimed Sweden was at risk of a second surge of virus cases. 

The strategy, however, is going down as well as a plate of pickled pilchards with the nation’s voters (for the uninitiated, they prefer herring). A Ipsos MORI poll found that support for the government’s handling of the crisis had plummeted by 11% to 45%. This is a significant change in public opinion and, as such, the pressure is on Stockholm to react. 

In Australia, meanwhile, public concern about the novel coronavirus rose this week for the first time since the peak of the crisis more than three months ago. 

Newgate Australia’s weekly tracker of more than 1,200 people found that the reaction was in response to a fresh outbreak of cases in Victoria, in the southeast of the country. 

Concern about the virus rose from 63% last week to 69%, a sharp reversal in sentiment after 13 weeks of steadily declining anxiety. 

Results of the polling also discovered a dip in economic confidence, with 62% of respondents expecting the economic situation to get worse in a month (up from 55% last week) and 53% expecting that it will get worse in three months (up from 47%).

Finally, in the US, Democrat Presidential hopeful Joe Biden is distancing himself from incumbent Donald Trump in person and in the polls, with an average lead of 8.3%. 

Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight outlet has explained why Trump’s electoral college advantage (remember, he didn’t win the popular vote against Hillary Clinton) is slipping. Voter registrations, mostly due to the pandemic, are significantly down. The dog and pony show of the long campaign continues.

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