Germans are happiest with their government, but least nationalistic

In our latest survey, completed at the end of December 2016, we asked respondents for their opinions about their democracy and government. Our results show that 63% of Germans responded that they are satisfied with the way democracy works in their country. This was above the US and the 5 other major European countries we sampled on a census representative level. The UK was a close second with a 62% approval rating. At the other end of the extreme is Italy, which held a 25% approval rating of their democracy. For all countries, women were less satisfied with how their democracy works than men. The greatest gap in satisfaction is in the U.S., where 66% of men are satisfied with their democracy compared to only 49% of women. The satisfaction gaps in Poland, Italy and Germany are low; 1, 2 and 5 percentage points respectively.

When it comes to their government in general, Germans also feel the most positive. 35% of Germans have a positive opinion of the government compared to 33% who have a negative opinion, making it the only country in our list to have a positive approval rating (+2 percentage points). French were least likely to have a positive opinion of their government at just 8%, and had an overall rating of (-55 percentage points). Italy came in last with a net score of -60 percentage points (9% positive and 69% negative).

Although the majority of respondents agreed with the statement “Government is controlled by the rich elite,” there were some significant country-level differences. A majority of 79% of Spanish agreed with the statement. Germans agreed at only 57%, and disagreed at 17%.

Despite Germans’ high opinion of the quality of their government and democratic system, they were the least likely to be nationalistic. We asked respondents if they agree with the statement, “My country comes first.” The vast majority of Americans (71%) agreed with the statement. Germans and Spanish disagreed with the statement the most, 19% each. However, Germans came in at the bottom of the list with only 47% agreeing to the statement.

Image: Alexander Kurz