The Economist editorial stance

Since its founding in 1843, the editorial stance of The Economist has been developed to further the newspaper's founding purpose to "take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress". First published by Scottish economist James Wilson to muster support for abolishing the British Corn Laws (1815–46), a system of import tariffs, the weekly has made free trade a touch stone of their editorial stance. Its core stance has been summarized by The Guardian as a "trusted three-card trick of privatisation, deregulation and liberalisation".[1]

Scottish economist Adam Smith (right) and philosopher David Hume (left) represent the newspaper's foundational beliefs of laissez-faire policies, self-sufficiency, anti-protectionism and free trade.

The publication's own self-documented history states this about its editorial stance:

What, besides free trade and free markets, does The Economist believe in? "It is to the Radicals that The Economist still likes to think of itself as belonging. The extreme centre is the paper's historical position." That is as true today as when former Economist editor Geoffrey Crowther said it in 1955. The Economist considers itself the enemy of privilege, pomposity and predictability. It has backed conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. It has supported the Americans in Vietnam. But it has also endorsed Harold Wilson and Bill Clinton, and espoused a variety of liberal causes: opposing capital punishment from its earliest days, while favouring penal reform and decolonisation, as well as—more recently—gun control and gay marriage.

Great FamineEdit

The newspaper opposed the provision of aid to the Irish during the Great Famine. The Economist argued for laissez-faire policies in which self-sufficiency, anti-protectionism and free trade, not food aid, were in the opinion of the paper the key to helping the Irish live through the famine which killed approximately one million people.[3][4]

19th century social reformsEdit

In the 19th century the editorial stance of The Economist drifted away from supporting laissez-faire policies. In January 1883, for example, one editorial noted:[5]

[...] it required very little observation of current politics to see that the principle of laissez-faire is no longer in the ascendant.

— "The New Radicalism", The Economist, 20 January 1883[5]

In September 1883, another editorial noted_[5]

When once it has been conceded that the functions of the State are not to be strictly limited to those simpler duties [...] it is wonderful how soon and how rapidly the number of the outlets in which it is thought that State aid may be advantageously applied becomes increased and multiplied.

— "State Aid", The Economist, 29 September 1883[5]

This change in editorial stance reflected a similar change in British politics itself, which had set aside the notion of laissez-faire as a practical philosophy some 50 years beforehand.[5]

United Kingdom's entry into the Common MarketEdit

The editorial stance of The Economist on the UK's entry into the Common Market, like the stance of the New Statesman, gradually developed over time. Although it consistently took the position of a cooperative approach to Europe rather than an integrative approach, its initial opposition to European institutions gradually changed to acceptance over time. Once this change occurred, the weekly's supported a decentralized and cooperative model for European institutions, and democratic accountability. [6]

In part, The Economist's own editorial stance was a simple reflection of attitudes within the UK in general, and of its two major political parties through the middle to late 20th century (Conservative and Labour), resisting the surrender of sovereignty to a supranational institution for as long as possible, and attempting to preserve the UK's self-image of a world power.[6]

Initially, in the years immediately after World War II, contributors to the paper dismissed and rejected proposals for European institutions such as the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Defence Community, the European Economic Community, and European Atomic Energy Community.1 Up to the late 1950s, the paper was pro-American.[6]

However, in the period from 1957 to the 1980s, the paper's editorial opinion articles gradually came to accept the idea of the UK as a member in the various European communities. Medrano divides this period, and the transition of the newspaper's editorial stance, into three periods, which he labels "Denial", "Grudging Acceptance", and "Embrace". The New Statesman went through all three of these phases as well, although unlike The Economist, the New Statesman had not completed the third phase at the point of the UK's entry into the Common Market in the 1970s. The Economist had, and was supportive of UK membership during the initial negotiations for entry in the 1960s.[6]

However, the newspaper, whilst supportive of entry, did not conceal its continued editorial dislike of European institutions and pro-American stance. It optimistically predicted that the UK's entry would be able to rectify what it saw as a drift away from the United States by Europe. This is exemplified by one July 1962 editorial:[6]

Doubtless some people in Paris, and some elsewhere on the Continent, at present see Britain as an American Trojan horse. In a sense it is, and quite rightly [...]

— "Europe or Atlantis?", The Economist, 14 July 1962[6]

The veto of the UK's entry, by Charles de Gaulle, in 1963 provoked an outraged response from The Economist, which in its editorials predicted the unravelling of European institutions. It also recommended an idea that it had supported in earlier years, that of an Atlantic Community, both economic and military.[6]

Soon after the veto, The Economist's stance on the status of the UK as a dominant world power began to change. One milestone in this is an editorial published in May 1963:[6]

The six and a half years of the attempt to come to terms with the European common market, since the free trade area was proposed in 1956, are the Great Divide of modern British history. For the time being, the attempt has failed; and British opinion is still far from wholly won over to the idea that the European communities qualify as a "good thing". But the effort alone has dealt a mortal blow to the Festival of Britain spirit, the happy pursuit of parochial self-esteem that still dulled the country's awareness of facts in the nineteen-fifties. In the great debate on the common market, the British had seen through some of their own shibboleths; this is something.

The grandest victim of the common market's cold douche has been the illusion that Britain was still a world power, an illusion fostered by a heroic war record and by a touching faith in the welfare state—so half-hearted, so incomplete—as a model for others to emulate, much as British parliamentary institutions were taken as models for the nineteenth century.

— "Breaking out from the Past", The Economist, 18 May 1963[6]

In subsequent years, The Economist continued to support the idea of UK membership in the common market, and began to suggest that it was an economic necessity. It published weekly evaluations of the cost of both entry and of the European institutions, argued that membership of the EC was not incompatible with the Commonwealth of Nations, and discussed industrial and technological advantages that could be obtained as a result of membership. One change, however, was that it no longer pursued the idea of radically transforming the Community from within once the UK was a member, but rather suggested that the UK accept the Community as it already was.[6]

Its reaction to de Gaulle's second veto of UK membership, in 1967, thus differed from its reaction in 1964. Rather than responding with anger and outrage as it had done before, its reaction was introspective and resigned. The paper no longer argued defiantly on the basis of the UK as a world power, but rather portrayed the UK as too small to stand alone, and thus encouraged resolve and perseverance with entry negotiations. This is exemplified by one October 1967 article:[6]

The British have farther to go, less on specific issues of policy than in attitudes. For most of this century it has been natural for Englishmen to think of themselves as part of the English-speaking world, of which the United States has become the visible leader. Only now are they beginning in any number to think of themselves as Europeans as well.

— "And Now", The Economist, 14 October 1967[6]

The newspaper took to minimalising the economic importance of the Commonwealth in its editorials, calling into question the interpretation of statistical data by those who had an emotional investment in the self-image of the UK as one-time head of an Empire:

Why is this sort of clamor set up whenever any new hope of entering the EEC dawns? The truth is that there are some people in Britain who are bitterly opposed to union with Europe on emotional grounds, or on the grounds of what they call the "bureaucratic monster" at Brussels and in that it interferes with Britons' independence to run their own affairs. Such people are to be found in the economics profession, politics, and the civil service; and this quite clearly does affect their sense of statistical balance.

— "Oh Moo", The Economist, 12 July 1969[6]

It pointed to the Civil Service as one of the ways in which parliamentary sovereignty, something that the opponents of entry argued would be eroded by membership, had already been eroded. Whilst it no longer advocated radical transformation from within, it observed that the UK would have a significant voice within the EC, by virtue of its size. Medrano equates the paper's change in editorial stance, immediately before and after the UK's final success in gaining membership, to a "religious conversion". It made economic arguments for membership, on the grounds of growing globalization of markets, political arguments based upon the idea of holding the government of West Germany (which was, at the time, the SPD with its then policy of Ostpolitik) in check, and emotional arguments that played on the British antipathy towards the French by presenting its own federalist view of European communities as an anti-French alternative to the French government's proposals of intergovernmental union.[6]

Anglo-American relationsEdit

Whilst, as observed, The Economist's editorial stance was pro-American when it came to postwar international alliances, it was not always so. One particular editorial, that was at the head of a nadir in Anglo-American relations in World War II, was "Noble Negatives".[7] It was published in the 1944-12-30 edition of the newspaper,2 and is believed to be the work of Owen Fleming.[7][8] The so-called "noble negatives" were two cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy: non-intervention with the object of non-involvement.[7]

"Noble Negatives" appeared at the height of mutual criticisms between the UK and the U.S., and provoked wide discussion and comment in the newsmedia of both.[9] It was ostensibly a reply to the "outburst of criticism and abuse" that the U.S. had directed against the UK in previous weeks[10] (that had been, in part, triggered by the Carlo Sforza affair).[8] Its outspoken views on both U.S. foreign policy and sectors of U.S. public opinion were widely quoted, and in the view of Thomson, Meyer, and Briggs, writing in 1945, did much to "clear the air" between the two allies.[9]

The editorial made several remarks. It questioned whether the price that the UK had paid for collaboration with the U.S. during the war was not "too high for what we are likely to get".[11] It characterized U.S. public opinion of the UK as "Britain is stealing a march on the poor repressed American exporter, Britain has no intention of fighting the Japanese, [and] Britain is not really fighting in Europe. [...] Britain is imperialist, reactionary, selfish, exclusive, restrictive."[8]

It reflected on this attitude by noting that "All is painfully familiar, the only novelty in the recent epidemic is the evidence that [the] American government itself—or at least part of it—is more anxious to provide ammunition for the miscontents than to correct their wild misstatements." The editorial called for a change in U.K. policy towards the U.S., saying "Let an end be put to the policy of appeasement which, at Mr Churchill's personal bidding, has been followed with all the humiliations and abasements.", and concluded by saying that:[8]

Hypocrisy is a common Anglo-Saxon failing—indeed, a failing of the rich and comfortable, all over the world [...] the British have many times have made themselves cordially disliked by it. But that does not exempt them from feeling resentment when they are the objects of other people's hypocrisy.

— "Noble Negatives", The Economist, 30 December 1944[8]

The result was a media sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. The Daily Telegraph had a headline article "British Frankness Has Good Effect in U.S." The Daily Herald headlined with "So the British Have Dared to Hit Back". Other headline articles were "Anglo-American Back Chat" (in the New York Herald Tribune) "Cross Talk" (in the Daily Mail), and "U.S. Comment on British Touchiness" (in the Manchester Guardian).[8]

The Foreign Office agreed with the editorial, although secret reports from British security services in New York warned that in fact there was worse to come, with support for isolationism and nationalism growing in the U.S., a crumbling of pro-British factions, and an increase in anti-British views in official U.S. government circles. Both President Roosevelt and the Secretary of State Stettinius were besieged by U.S. press calling for an official reaction to the editorial.[8]

Stettinius himself wrote that "Unfortunately, other British papers had followed the Economist's lead. Even the London Times [had] demanded that America 'put its cards on the table'." His view on the editorial, which he expressed in a memorandum to Roosevelt, was that "the British were undergoing a strain in adjusting to a secondary role after having always accepted a leading one".[8]

Cold fusionEdit

In 1989, The Economist editorialized that the cold fusion "affair" was "exactly what science should be about."[12] Science journalist Michael Brooks wrote:

It seems almost laughably naive in light of what followed, but the Economist was right: the research is what science is about, and has led us somewhere.

— Michael Brooks[12]

Bosnian WarEdit

The Economist summarily dismissed Brendan Simms' book, Unfinest Hour, on the Bosnian War for having no more than "the force of an inkpot thrown from a schooldesk" and for its criticism of government ministers for their "flaws of logic [and] failures of clairvoyance". Simms himself observed in response that The Economist's own attempts at clairvoyance had "backfired spectacularly". He pointed to the weekly's editorials through July 1991 and 1992, which predicted that European Community foreign policy would deal with the situation well and that there would not be all-out war in Bosnia.[13]

Simms characterizes The Economist as being "a longstanding opponent of military intervention" in Bosnia, pointing to its editorials of July 1995, when the 1995 NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina was underway, and to Bill Emmott's own letter to the publication, which rejected "intervention in this three-cornered civil war, a war which all along has risked escalation into a far wider conflict with even ghastlier consequences", as evidence of this.[13]

Simms observed that the newspaper's editorial stance changed at the end of September 1995, describing it as "finally conced[ing] what it had denied for so long".[13]

Drug liberalizationEdit

The Economist has, since 1989,[14] argued for the legalisation of drugs, calling it the "least bad solution" in a 2009 issue.[15] A February 2016 article praised the undergoing process of legalization of cannabis in several countries worldwide.[16]

Global warmingEdit

The Economist supports government action on global warming. In 1997 it wrote that the United States showed 'dangerous signs' of using the developing world as an excuse to do nothing about global warming.[17] In 1998, The Economist expressed its view that global warming may be a catastrophe that warrants much spending to reduce fossil fuels, but before this, climatologists need a stream of reliable data.[18] In a December editorial before the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, The Economist declared its view that the risk of catastrophic climate change and its effect on the economy outweighs the economic consequences of insuring against global warming now.[19]

War in AfghanistanEdit

The Economist supports the ISAF/NATO operation in Afghanistan, and called on Barack Obama to fight the war "with conviction". It supported his escalation of the American presence there in late 2009, on the basis of security interests and that a withdrawal "would amount to a terrible betrayal of the Afghan people, some of whose troubles are the result of Western intervention".[20]

Invasion of IraqEdit

The Economist supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq,[21] but was unhappy in how it was handled.[22] In 2017 The Economist wrote: "A newspaper cannot publish for 174 years without some mistakes. This one has made its share. We thought Britain was safe in the European exchange-rate mechanism just weeks before it crashed out; we opined, in 1997, that Indonesia was well placed to avoid financial crisis; we noted in 1999 that oil, at $10 per barrel, might well reach $5, almost perfectly timing the bottom of the market; and in 2003 we supported the invasion of Iraq."[23]


Like many newspapers, The Economist uses its pages to endorse candidates and parties ahead of major elections.

British general electionsEdit

The Economist has endorsed a party at British general election since 1955, having remained neutral before that, on the grounds that "A journal that is jealous of its reputation for independence would, in any event, be foolish to compromise it by openly taking sides in a general election."[24]

Year Party Leader Endorsement
1955 Conservative Sir Anthony Eden "[I]n the election of 1955 an elector who tries to reach his conclusion by reason based on observation has no choice. He may not like voting Tory. But there is nothing else he can do."[25]
1959 Conservative Harold Macmillan "The Tories deserve a vote, if not of confidence, then of hope."[26]
1964 Labour Harold Wilson "It does seem to The Economist that, on the nicest balance, the riskier choice of Labour—and Mr Wilson—will be the better choice for voters to make on Thursday."[27]
1966 Conservative Edward Heath "On their record in the past decade, as in the past weel, on the central issues of British policy the choice must be for Mr Heath."[28]
1970 Conservative Edward Heath "But the Conservatives provide the better hope on at least three grounds: restoring some incentives to risk-taking, not destroying savings through Mr Crossman's pension scheme, and making some overdue advance towards trade union reform."[29]
Feb. 1974 Conservative Edward Heath "If they want the resolution that they will win through one day ... then there is no alternative to Mr Heath."[30]
Oct. 1974 Conservative Edward Heath "[A]lthough a good Liberal contribution would be essential to the formation, and the success, of any coalition, it is the Conservatives who will provide the strongest and toughest opposition to a majority Labour government next week." While expressing a preference for the Conservatives, they also hoped for the "reinforcement of the sensible centre wherever it can be managed: that includes social democratic Labour men, who may yet have a decisive part to play, as much as it includes Conservatives who would rely on unemployment as their main policy"[31]
1979 Conservative Margaret Thatcher "We are not confident that it will be proved, but we would like to see it tried. The Economist votes for Mrs Thatcher being given her chance." This year they recognized the risk of Margaret Thatcher, and supported the Liberal Party, led by David Steel, as "the choice for the timid"[32]
1983 Conservative Margaret Thatcher "We believe Mrs Thatcher and her colleagues should be given a second chance to deliver them, with the fewest possible Labour (as distinct from alliance) MPs elected against her."[33]
1987 Conservative Margaret Thatcher "The Tories may not succeed; the Thatcher revolution may stall, unfinished. But to end its chances now would be folly, grand scale"[34]
1992 Conservative John Major "Mr Ashdown's best long-term hope for a Liberal revival lies in overturning the past 92 years, so that the Labour Party and the Liberals rejoin each other. For that to happen, Labour must lose this election, and the bigger its loss the better. And that, given the depressing state of British politics, is the best reason for wanting the Conservatives to win next week."[35]
1997 Conservative John Major "Labour doesn't deserve it"[36]
2001 Labour Tony Blair "Vote conservative—But choose the ambiguous right-winger rather than the feeble one"[37]
2005 Labour Tony Blair "There is no alternative (alas)”[38]
2010 Conservative David Cameron "in this British election the overwhelming necessity of reforming the public sector stands out. It is not just that the budget deficit is a terrifying 11.6% of GDP, a figure that makes tax rises and spending cuts inevitable. Government now accounts for over half the economy, rising to 70% in Northern Ireland. For Britain to thrive, this liberty-destroying Leviathan has to be tackled. The Conservatives, for all their shortcomings, are keenest to do that; and that is the main reason why we would cast our vote for them."[39]
2015 Conservative David Cameron "the best hope for Britain is with a continuation of a Conservative-led coalition".[40]
2017 Liberal Democrat Tim Farron "No party passes with flying colours. But the closest is the Liberal Democrats."[41] This support was despite the fact that "We know that this year the Lib Dems are going nowhere."[41]
2019 Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson "As last time, they are the only choice for anyone who rejects both the hard Brexit of the Conservatives and the hard-left plans of Labour."[42]

United States presidential electionsEdit

Year Candidate Party Endorsement
1980 Ronald Reagan Republican "That, perhaps, is the most pressing reason why so many of America's friends want, unusually in a presidential election, to see a change at the top, even one laden with risk. We agree with them."[43]
1984 No endorsement[43]
1988 No endorsement, "Oh dear!"[43]
1992 Bill Clinton Democratic "Despite the risks, the possibilities are worth pursuing. Our choice falls on him."[43]
1996 Bob Dole Republican "We choose him on the assumption that the real Bob Dole is the one who spent three decades on Capitol Hill, not this year's dubious character; that he would be more prudent than his economic plan implies. That is an awkward basis for an endorsement. But the choice is a lousy one."[43]
2000 George W. Bush Republican The Economist, if it had a vote, would choose George W. Bush. It prefers his small government, pro-market philosophy. And, on the simple test of the two crises, he wins on points: behind on a foreign crisis, but well ahead in a domestic one".[44]
2004 John Kerry Democratic "The incompetent George W. Bush or the incoherent John Kerry"[45]
2008 Barack Obama Democratic "He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency."[46]
2012 Barack Obama Democratic "Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him."[47]
2016 Hillary Clinton Democratic "Hence our vote goes to both Mrs Clinton and her party. Partly because she is not Mr Trump, but also in the hope she can show that ordinary politics works for ordinary people—the sort of renewal that American democracy requires."[48]
2020 Joe Biden Democratic "Joe Biden is not a miracle cure for what ails America. But he is a good man who would restore steadiness and civility to the White House. He is equipped to begin the long, difficult task of putting a fractured country back together again. That is why, if we had a vote, it would go to Joe."[49]

Other national electionsEdit

Country Year Party Leader/Candidate Endorsement
2015 Republican Proposal Mauricio Macri "It will not happen under Mr Scioli. His defenders say that he will be better at dealing with Congress, which will be dominated by his allies. The others, they say, will get nothing done. That is a risk. But the risk of obstruction is a bad reason to pick a second-best president. Argentines should choose Mr Macri."[50]
2017 Cambiemos "On October 22nd Argentina’s voters will render a judgment on Mr Macri in a mid-term congressional election. For the sake of Argentina, and of Latin America more broadly, it is important that he do well. A strong showing by his Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition would help his government continue economic reforms."[51]
2004 Liberal-National coalition John Howard Had opposed Howard's bid for a third term in 2001[52]
2013 Labor Kevin Rudd "The choice between a man with a defective manifesto and one with a defective personality is not appealing—but Mr Rudd gets our vote, largely because of Labor’s decent record."[53]
2014 PSDB Aécio Neves "Voters should ditch Dilma Rousseff and elect Aécio Neves."[54]
2006 Conservative Stephen Harper "Those daring Canadians: And why they should vote Conservative this time"[55]
2008 "Why Stephen Harper does not deserve to be dumped"[56]
2018 Civic Compromise Sergio Fajardo "He would seek to improve the implementation of the peace agreement, not undermine it. He gets our vote."[57]
2012 Freedom and Justice Mohamed Morsi "A Muslim Brother is better than a Mubarak crony"[58]
2007 UMP Nicolas Sarkozy "After a quarter-century of drift Nicolas Sarkozy offers the best hope of reform"[59]
2012 "For all that, if we had a vote on May 6th, we would give it to Mr Sarkozy—but not on his merits, so much as to keep out Mr Hollande."[60]
2017 En Marche! Emmanuel Macron "Either of the two pro-market candidates would be a blessing. (...) Emmanuel Macron is untested and lacks the support of an established party; François Fillon is a social conservative tarnished by scandal. On balance, we would support Mr Macron. "[61]
2017 Édouard Philippe "Mr Macron must also break the habit of 30 years in which France’s reforms have been blocked by the hard left. Success rests on early, visible progress in two areas—employment and relations with Germany. … LRM’s landslide makes this programme more likely to succeed."[62]
2002 CDU/CSU Edmund Stoiber "Time for a change"[63]
2005 Angela Merkel "For Germany's sake, and for the sake of reform right across the EU, voters should do their best to give Ms Merkel's Christian Democrats and their allies a clear majority on September 18th."[64]
2009 FDP Guido Westerwelle "Time for a change", "If this newspaper had a vote in Germany's election, it would cast it for the FDP, in the hope that it joins a coalition with Ms Merkel's CDU".[65]
2013 CDU/CSU Angela Merkel "And yet we believe Mrs Merkel is the right person to lead her country and thus Europe. That is partly because of what she is: the world’s most politically gifted democrat and a far safer bet than her leftist opponents." The editorial also favoured a continuation of the existing CDU/CSU-FDP coalition.[66]
2017 "A continuation of the present grand coalition with the SPD threatens yet more sleepy stasis. Instead she should team up with the free-market Free Democratic Party and the Greens—who are wise on Europe and tougher on Russia. Such a coalition would stand a chance of shaking the country up. As its leader, the hesitant Mrs Merkel might even become the chancellor who surprised everybody."[67]
2009 Indian National Congress Manmohan Singh "It has presided over an unprecedented economic boom, and has continued the course of cautious liberalisation and globalisation followed by its predecessors.… For this reason, The Economist, if it had a vote, would plump for Mr Singh's Congress."[68]
2014 Rahul Gandhi "We do not find the prospect of a government led by Congress under Mr Gandhi an inspiring one. But we have to recommend it to Indians as the less disturbing option."[69]
2019 "Congress, the BJP’s only national rival, may be hidebound and corrupt, but at least it does not set Indians at one another’s throats. (...) It is a worthier recipient of Indians' votes than the BJP."[70]
2019 PDI-P Joko Widodo "[Prabowo's] election would be a step backwards for Indonesia’s 20-year-old democracy. It is heartening, therefore, that most polls show Jokowi firmly in the lead."[71]
2015 Zionist Union Isaac Herzog "[Herzog] is level-headed and has a credible security and economic team. He wants talks with the Palestinians and to heal ties with Mr Obama."[72]
2006 The Union Romano Prodi "Italians have a rotten choice to make, but it is time to sack Silvio Berlusconi"[73]
2008 Democratic Party Walter Veltroni "Silvio Berlusconi has failed to show that he is any more worthy of leading Italy today than he was in the past"[74]
2013 Pier Luigi Bersani The editorial called for a coalition between the centre-left and Mario Monti's centrist coalition.[75]
2018 Paolo Gentiloni "The least bad way forward would be another "government of the president", a broad coalition underwritten by Sergio Mattarella, the head of state."[76]
2012 Institutional Revolutionary Party Enrique Peña Nieto "Enrique Peña is the least bad choice. But he must still show he is a force for reform."[77]
2015 All Progressives Congress Muhammadu Buhari "We are relieved not to have a vote in this election. But were we offered one we would—with a heavy heart—choose Mr Buhari."[78]
2016 Liberal Party Mar Roxas "This newspaper’s view is that the dull but diligent Mr Roxas would make the best next president."[79]
South Africa
2014 Democratic Alliance Helen Zille "The DA deserves to be endorsed. It has doggedly promoted non-racial and liberal values and sensible economic policies."[80]
2019 African National Congress Cyril Ramaphosa "But this time, with deep reservations, we would cast our notional vote, at the national level, for the ANC."[81]
2015 Citizens Albert Rivera "If The Economist had a vote, it would go to Ciudadanos." The editorial called for a coalition between Ciudadanos and the conservative People's Party.[82]
2019 PSOE Pedro Sánchez "Ideally, Spaniards would vote on April 28th for Mr Sánchez’s party in large enough numbers for it not to need allies".[83]
2005 AKP Recep Tayyip Erdoğan "The best result would be the re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan"[84]
2011 CHP Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu "Turkey's election: One for the opposition"[85]
June 2015 HDP Selahattin Demirtaş "Why Turks should vote Kurd: It is the best way of stopping their country’s drift towards autocracy."[86]
2018 CHP Muharrem İnce "On balance, Muharrem Ince, a former teacher who now represents Kemal Ataturk's old party, the CHP, is the best option."[87]
United States
Democratic Nancy Pelosi (H)
Harry Reid (S)
"Whichever way you look at it, the Republicans deserve to get clobbered next week"[88]
Democratic Nancy Pelosi (H)
Chuck Schumer (S)
"(…) the route forward is by many small steps, beginning with next week's elections. And the first of those steps is for the House, at a minimum, to switch to Democratic control."[89]

Local electionsEdit

Party primariesEdit

  • 2008 Kadima leadership election: Tzipi Livni, "Ms Livni has the toughness and the vision to [achieve the co-operation of both a new American president and a host of difficult Arabs]. She is thus Israel's best chance of peace."[94]
  • Labour leadership election, 2015: Liz Kendall[95]
  • 2015 Liberal Democrats leadership election: Norman Lamb, "Of the two candidates, the drier Mr Lamb looks the more likely to raise from the ruins of the Lib Dems' defeat a distinctive force capable of pulling British politics in a liberal direction. He is the sober choice for a punch-drunk party."[96]
  • Republican Party presidential primaries, 2016: John Kasich, "If The Economist had cast a vote in the Republican primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada we would have supported John Kasich. The governor of Ohio has a good mixture of experience, in Congress and in his home state as well as in the private sector. He has also shown bravery, expanding Medicaid in Ohio though he knew it would count against him later with primary voters, as indeed it has."[97]
  • Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2020: Joe Biden, "Many younger Democrats think that the former vice-president’s faith in his power to persuade Republicans to cross the aisle and support him is touching at best, and dangerously naive at worst. Yet the only way to bring about long-lasting change in Washington is for a president to find a coalition in Congress that is broad enough to pass laws. After Super Tuesday, it looks as if only one candidate on the Democratic side may be capable of doing that."[98]


Some of these might not be considered official endorsements, but seem to obviously express The Economist's view on the matter.


  • ^1 For example, in its 1950-05-20 edition, the newspaper remarked that the Schuman Plan would "stand or fall" depending from its effects on the links between Europe and the U.S., and warned that Adenauer and others were aiming to organize Western Europe on "neutralist" lines, that would not ally it with the U.S. against the Soviet Union.[104]
  • ^2 It was re-printed in the 1945-01-08 issue of the Daily Telegraph.[9]


  1. ^ Stern, Stefan (21 August 2005). "Economist thrives on female intuition". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 January 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "About us". Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Williams, Leslie; Williams, W.H.A. (2003). Daniel O'Connell, the British Press, and the Irish Famine. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 101, 152–153. ISBN 0-7546-0553-1. Retrieved 4 February 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Ó Gráda, Cormac (1995). "Introduction". The great Irish famine. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-521-55787-9.
  5. ^ a b c d e Robert F. Haggard (2001). "Conservative, Liberal, and the Radical Responses to the Social Question". The persistence of Victorian liberalism: the politics of social reform in Britain, 1870–1900. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 117–118. ISBN 9780313313059.
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