Democracies’ dissatisfied citizens want ‘significant’ change


Across 17 advanced economies, a median of 56% believe their political system needs major changes or needs to be completely reformed. Roughly two-thirds or more hold this view in Italy, Spain, the United States, South Korea, Greece, France, Belgium and Japan, according to the Pew Research Center.

Discontent with the status quo is especially high in six countries – the U.S., Italy, Spain, Greece, France and Japan – where more than half want major changes or complete reform to the political, economic and health care systems, write Pew researchers RICHARD WIKEJANELL FETTEROLFSHANNON SCHUMACHERJ.J. MONCUS:

  • Satisfaction with the way democracy is working is also lowest in these countries. Fewer than half of adults in Greece, Italy, Spain, Japan, the U.S. and France are satisfied with the functioning of democracy in their country.
  • However, the public mood is not so downcast everywhere. Majorities in half of the surveyed publics express satisfaction with the state of their democracy. And there are six nations – Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand – where the desire for reform is relatively low.

Many who want changes are not confident the political system can be effectively reformed. A median of 46% across the 17 publics express both a desire for change and a lack of confidence, while a median of just 18% are confident the change they feel their system needs can happen.

A median of 57% across 17 publics say they are satisfied with the way their democracy is working. But while views of democracy are relatively positive overall, assessments vary across the advanced economies surveyed.

Only 41% of Americans are satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country, the survey adds:

  • In Europe, large majorities in Sweden and Germany are satisfied with the way their democracy is functioning, including roughly a quarter in each country who are very satisfied. ….
  • On the other end of the spectrum, only around a third are content with their democracy in Spain, Italy and Greece. In these three countries, as well as France, at least a quarter say they are not at all satisfied with how their democracy is working. RTWT

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