Keywords: COVID-19; Government performance; Italy; Public opinion; Public poli- cy.
This article investigates Italian public opinion preferences towards the government during the COVID -19 pandemic. Italy has been the first country in Europe severely hit by this crisis, and its executive has been the first one in the West to gradually introduce lockdown measures to hinder the spread of the virus. Against this backdrop we assess Italian citizens’ opinions on government performance in two policy areas: the management of the health and economic consequences of the COVID -19 outbreak. Results of analysis, based on survey data collected when the country was in full lockdown, suggest that during the pandemic the evaluation of government’s performance to manage the health crisis was affected by the rally-round-the-flag effect. Instead, the evaluation of economic measures remained based on retrospective considerations.