The Covid-19 pandemic forced national governments to implement painful Covid-19 policies, without a definite end in sight. This asked a lot of both national governments and citizens. For national governments, it has been crucial to attain that citizens followed the rules. It was crucial that citizens trusted their national governments in order to enhance the successful implementation of Covid-19 measures. If citizens trust their national government, they are more likely to follow the nationally implemented policies. This study investigates whether the most crucial determinant of political trust, satisfaction with governmental performance has been influential on levels of political trust in national governments during the pandemic. In addition, it is investigated whether this relationship is mitigated by personal factors like the age, social class and political attitude of EU citizens. As a result it is measured whether different social groups within European societies reacted on their (dis)satisfaction with the nationally implemented Covid-19 measures by expressing political distrust. Dissatisfaction does not necessarily lead to political distrust and vice versa, but it depends on the amount to which governmental policies impact personal lives or whether citizens think that policies are justified. In this study it turns out that satisfaction with the nationally implemented Covid-19 measures indeed strongly effected political trust in national governments within the EU. In addition, personal factors like the age and social class of respondents enhanced trust in the national governments. EU citizens who were 65 years and older and EU citizens who belong to the upper class of society were more likely to trust their national government. This study did not find any evidence for moderation of the personal factors age, social class and political radicalism. Though it has been expected that increased susceptibility for Covid19 would increase reactions on (dis)satisfaction with nationally implemented Covid-19 measuresin the form of political (dis)trust in the national governments amongst vulnerable socio-demographic groups, this study finds no evidence for this type of moderation on the EU-level. On the other hand, when zooming into separate countries, this study finds sometimes results that are interesting or unusual. Therefore it is recommended to investigate the relationship between satisfaction with governmental performance during the Covid-19 pandemic and political trust in national governments on the countrylevel.

Dr. Asia Zhelyazkova, Prof. Dr. Markus Haverland
Public Administration
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Cornelis Boon. (2022, June 30). Does satisfaction always matter for political trust?. Public Administration. Retrieved from