Democracy in demand – but not in supply?


Dalia Research

Democracy’s crisis is not about people losing faith in democracy – it’s about people demanding more. That is the conclusion of the Democracy Perception Index (DPI), which claims to be the world’s largest annual study on democracy.

2019 marked another turbulent year for democracy around the world – according to Freedom House, it was the 13th consecutive year of global democratic decline, writes Dalia Research analyst Fred Deveaux. In order to better understand the underlying forces behind the crisis, Dalia Research and Rasmussen Global teamed up with the Alliance of Democracies to launch the second round of the annual Democracy Perception Index.

Some 78% of people around the world believe that democracy is important to their country. As in 2019, pro-democracy majorities are found in each country surveyed, ranging from 92% in Greece to 50% in Iran. But 45% of people living in democracies think their states are not sufficiently democratic, the survey finds.

The largest democratic deficits were found in Venezuela (50%), Poland (48%), Hungary (42%), Ukraine (39%) and Thailand (35%).

Voters in Greece (89%), Taiwan (87%), Ireland (87%), South Korea, Australia and Denmark (all 86%) are happiest with their government’s performance in controlling the coronavirus. At the bottom end of the scale, electorates in Brazil, France, Italy, the US and the UK are the least-satisfied.

Most strikingly, the Perceived Democratic Deficit, which measures the percentage of people who believe democracy is important against the percentage who think their country is actually democratic, is worryingly high in CEE states, Emerging Europe’s Portia Kentish writes:

For the region, these numbers are well above the global average, with Ukraine at 39 per cent, Hungary 42 per cent and Poland 48 per cent, outranked only by Venezuela at 50 per cent. This data is crucial in determining the level of disconnect between citizens’ expectations and the perceived realities of their country’s democracy, and for the emerging European countries surveyed the situation does not look good.

The world remains split about whether the US’s global influence has a positive or negative influence on democracy around the world, the survey adds: 44% say it has a positive influence, 38% say negative.  European countries remain the strongest critics of the US’s global influence, particularly in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium where the overall opinion is overwhelmingly negative.

Results are based on nationally representative interviews with 124,000 respondents from 53 countries conducted between April 20th and June 3rd 2020. published ahead of this week’s Copenhagen Democracy Summit, to be held on 18-19 June.  RTWT

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