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Democracy’s Appeal is Ebbing in High-Income Nations, Finds New Survey, But India Seems to Differ

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As of spring 2024, across 31 nations, a median of 54 per cent say they are dissatisfied with their democracy, while 45 per cent are satisfied. (Getty)

As of spring 2024, across 31 nations, a median of 54 per cent say they are dissatisfied with their democracy, while 45 per cent are satisfied. (Getty)

Two key factors seem to influence how people feel about the way democracy is working — One is how they believe their economy is working and two, how people feel about the ruling party in their country

The charm of democracies seems to be dwindling in high-income countries, if a new survey from Pew Research Center is to be believed.

The survey, an ongoing process since 2017, has seen an interesting turn of events. Between 2017 and 2019, people’s satisfaction with democracies declined. It bounced back in 2021 during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic but, since then, people seem to have grown more agitated with the governance system.

As per the survey, a median of 49 per cent across these 12 nations were satisfied with the way their democracy was working in 2021. Today, just 36 per cent hold this view — including six countries where satisfaction has dropped by double digits: Canada, Germany, Greece, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Apart from the 12 countries that have been consistently surveyed, 19 other countries were asked the same question to gauge their satisfaction level. As of spring 2024, across 31 nations, a median of 54 per cent say they are dissatisfied with their democracy, while 45 per cent are satisfied.

There is also variance across regions. For instance, in Europe, 75 per cent Swedes are satisfied with their democracy, while the number is just 22 per cent in Greece. In the Asia-Pacific region, more than three-quarters of Indians and Singaporeans are satisfied with the way their democracy is working. However, only 31 per cent Japanese are happy with the governance structure.

Two key factors seem to influence how people feel about the way democracy is working — One is how they believe their economy is working and two, how people feel about the ruling party in their country.

In all 31 nations polled, people who rate the national economy negatively are more likely to be dissatisfied with their democracy. Similarly, in 27 countries, supporters of the governing party or coalition are particularly likely to say they are satisfied with the way their democracy is working.

In an earlier survey, Pew found that in eight of the surveyed countries, support for a “strong leader” who can make decisions without court or legislative interference increased since 2017.

The poll comes as the world’s democracies prepare for a titanic year, with elections having just concluded in India and European Union and the November presidential election in the United States.



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