Democracy Perception Index 2019: Threats to Democracy

This is Part 3 of 5 in our Democracy Perception Index Insights Series, run for the second year and presented at the Democracy Summit, which was organized by the Rasmussen Foundation. In this post, we will summarize findings of threats to democracy across the 54 countries surveyed, with over 177,000 participants who participated, representing over 80% of the world’s population. Findings on perception of social media, financial institutions, and US influence are available on Tableau for data journalists and public analysis.

In Part 2 of the DPI Insight series, we presented the results regarding how people around the perceive democracy. More specifically, whether or not they think democracy is important to have and whether or not they think their countries are currently democratic.

In this Part 3 of the DPI Insight series, we will focus on what specific global forces people see as problems or solutions to democracy.

Therefore we asked respondents if they thought the following three global influences are mostly helping or hurting democracy in their country:

  • Social Media Platforms
  • Global Financial Industry
  • The United States’s role in global affairs 

Threats to Democracy – Key Results

The results show that while most of the world generally thinks that social media platforms, the global financial industry and US international leadership have had a positive effect on democracy around the world, many western democracies identify these instead as threats to democracy: 

Social Media

  • While the majority of people around the world believe that social media platforms have an overall positive effect on democracy in their country (global average is 56% positive vs. 25% negative), several countries disagree:
  • The countries where people think that social media has the most negative impact on democracy are: Austria (43% negative), Canada (43%), the United States (42%), the Netherlands (41%), and Australia (41%). 

Banks and Financial Industry

  • 10 years after the financial crash, most European countries think that banks and the financial industry have had an overall negative impact on democracy in their country. 
  • The countries where people think that banks and the financial industry have had the most negative impact on democracy are: Greece (64% negative), Italy (61%), Germany (56%), France (55%) and Belgium 53%). 
  • Opinion in the rest of the world is much less negative, particularly in Asia where only 17% think banks and the financial industry have had a negative effect on democracy, compared to 58% who say it has had a positive impact.

US Global Influence

  • The world is split about whether the US has a positive or negative effect on democracy around the world: On one side, Nigeria, Kenya and Israel are the most positive (~70% positive vs. ~10% negative). On the other hand, Austria, Germany and Canada are the least positive (~20% positive vs. ~60% negative) along with most of Europe. 
  • Americans themselves think their country’s impact on democracy around the world is mostly positive: 70% positive vs. 20% negative. 

You can explore the results on Tableau.

Research Methodology

This report presents an overview of a study conducted by Rasmussen Global and Dalia Research in the Spring of 2019. The sample of n=177,870 online-connected respondents was drawn across 54 countries, with country sample sizes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000. Nationally representative results were calculated based on the official distribution of age, gender and education for each country’s population, sourced from most recent and available data from Barro Lee & UNStat, and The average margin of error across all countries sampled is (+/-) 2.77%.

For an overview of the project, please see the Executive Summary.

If you would like to do a multi-country survey, please get in touch with