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How much support did Emperor Palpatine have from the general population?

I am asking about his support before the first Death Star was destroyed, because after that people might see his Empire as vulnerable. Please provide answers from canon sources.

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  • How you imagine measuring this? It's not like they voted.
    – Mithoron
    Apr 12, 2020 at 17:55
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    Recent polls show him at 48% approval, but the elections aren't until November anyway so I don't think it matters. Apr 12, 2020 at 18:19
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    "Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp, but the fourth one... stayed up! And that's what you're gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands." Apr 12, 2020 at 19:25
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    Can you clarify what you are asking? Do you want to know what percentage of ordinary people supported Palpatine? Or whether his support was widespread across worlds or concentrated in a few powerful worlds? Or whether only the powerful elites supported him? (They did give him thunderous applause when he spoke about creating a new galactic empire.) Or whether rank and file bureaucrats and agreed with the policies they helped him implement?
    – RichS
    Apr 13, 2020 at 1:17
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    All of them. Everyone still living, anyway.
    – J Doe
    Apr 15, 2020 at 19:03

2 Answers 2

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No relevant answer can be given

Any Imperial poll or census would give you 100% (or 99%) support, because people would be afraid to vote otherwise (like in real world totalitarian states). Anyone else trying to get a census on a significant scale will very likely have problems with the Empire.

The Empire had no elections on a galaxy wide level, which could be considered 'free' or 'democratic'. Thus, no other politician, except the Emperor, could be considered an alternative, so in this sense, Palpatine would have a 100% rating.

Rebels were an active mobile minority and did not, like Clone Wars separatists, control entire planets or systems, giving a possibility to count their respective population as anti-Empire. We can only assume that on some remote worlds, the Empire had less degree of control, than on others, but level of control has nothing to do with support.

Given an opportunity (or under threat), a person could work for the Empire or the Rebels, as we frequently see in the movies, but it could be a result of circumstances, not a willing choice. For example, Han Solo wanted to join the Imperial army (or navy in the Legends), but was kicked out, and later reluctantly joined Luke Skywalker. But initially, he was there for money. Another example: Lando acted as an Imperial agent, but later switched allegiance, when he understood that he was cheated.

Add to the mixture a bunch of pirates, bounty hunters, smugglers, etc., who were loyal only to themselves, but could be hired for money by anyone willing to pay.

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    Been a while since reading them, but I recall there being some clues that there was a lot of support from the Core worlds in many of the novelizations. Even the post Empire New Republic had senators that support the FO because it was seen as being a return of the Empire Apr 16, 2020 at 11:29
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No canon explores this.

And in fact this is a big detail that never is explored. Any dominant force prevailing after the war needs to have a mass support from civilians to prevail, if not then it starts crumbling and disappearing in the end. It is then a wonder why there is no depiction of civil people that are actually convinced of what they are doing and supporting it in its core.

Most probably it is because it was never meant to have an explanation.

The Empire was conceived as this "obscure" evil entity that existed so Luke and the Rebels had an enemy.

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