Does the public perception of governments’ coronavirus pandemic responses actually make a difference to their electoral fortunes? In this research note, we answer that question by presenting the preliminary results of a survey of more than 3,000 voters in Croatia and Serbia conducted on a dedicated mobile app and web platform directly preceding parliamentary elections that took place in these two countries during the summer of 2020. This survey was part of our larger project tracking political competition, public discourse, and conspiracy theories in Southeast Europe during the coronavirus pandemic. The preliminary findings presented in this research note demonstrate Croatian and Serbian voters were rationally retrospective and rewarded parties in power based on evaluations of their crisis management performance. We also find evidence of voters who have personally witnessed the health consequences of the coronavirus being more likely to support the parties in power. We believe this is evidence of the coronavirus pandemic increasing affected citizens’ expectations of and trust in national governments where those governments respond strongly to the pandemic’s first wave, as was the case in both Croatia and Serbia.

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