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Dalia Insights Report

Democracy’s crisis is not about people losing faith in democracy – it’s about people demanding more

In collaboration with

Overview

The Democracy Perception Index (DPI) is the world’s largest annual study on democracy, conducted by Dalia Research in collaboration with the Alliance of Democracies and Rasmussen Global, to monitor attitudes towards democracy from around the world. This study focuses specifically on public perception, motivated by the premise that democracy’s survival depends primarily on how citizens perceive it. Results for the DPI are based on nationally representative interviews with 177,870 respondents from 54 countries conducted between April 18th and June 6th 2019.

Key Findings

79%

of people around the world say that democracy is important to have in their country.

45%

of all people living in democracies think their countries are not actually democratic.

Democracy’s crisis is a cry for more democracy, not less.

2019 marked another turbulent year for democracy around the world – according to the Freedom House, it was the 13th consecutive year of global democratic decline.

In order to better understand the underlying forces behind the crisis, Dalia Research and Rasmussen Global teamed up to launch the second round of the annual Democracy Perception Index.

Key Insights

DEMOCRACY IS IMPORTANT

79%

of people around the world say that democracy is important to have in their country. This is a majority opinion in each country surveyed, ranging from 92% in Greece to 55% in Iran.

MY COUNTRY IS NOT DEMOCRATIC

45%

of all people living in democracies think their countries are not actually democratic. Globally, 41% say they do not have enough democracy in their country – in democracies 38% say the same.

“Democracy’s crisis is not about people losing faith in democracy – it’s about people demanding more.”

Dr. Nico Jaspers, CEO, Dalia Research

Results for the Democracy Perception Index are based on nationally representative interviews with over 177,870 respondents conducted between April 18th and June 6th 2019, representing public opinion in 54 countries and 75% of the world’s population. The study set out to answer the following questions:

 01

Do people think that democracy is important?

The results show that the majority of people around the world (79%), say that democracy is important to have in their country. This is true for each country surveyed, ranging from 92% in Greece to 55% in Iran.

02

Do people think their countries are democratic?

Only half of people around the world (50%) say that their countries are democratic, ranging from 78% in Switzerland to 20% in Venezuela. More surprisingly, in democracies, the results are hardly better: only 55% of people say that their countries are currently democratic. In other words, nearly half (45%) of all people living in democracies think their countries are not actually democratic.

03

Are people satisfied with the level of democracy they have?

To capture the satisfaction with the state of democracy in the eyes of the public, this study measured the difference between how important people think democracy is and how democratic they think their country is. This gap represents how much governments are living up to the expectations of their citizens. The larger the gap, the bigger the democratic deficit in the eyes of the public.

The results show that all countries surveyed had such a gap – meaning there is no country surveyed where people think that the level of democracy they have is as high or higher than what they think is important.

The countries with the smallest gap are Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. The countries with the largest gap in democratic expectations are Algeria, Venezuela, Greece, Poland and Hungary (with a gap of around 50 percentage points each).

04

Where do people around the world want more democracy? 

When asked directly if they think they have the right amount, too much or not enough democracy in their country, the results paint a similar picture: In democracies, 38% say they do not have enough democracy in their country, nearly as high as the overall average of 41%.

05

What do people think is helping or hurting democracy in their country?

Lastly, the study aimed to shed light on the specific factors that people view as undermining or improving the state of democracy in their country and around the world. The results show that while the rest of the world generally thinks 1) social media platforms, 2) the global financial industry and 3) US international leadership have had a positive effect on democracy around the world, many western democracies identify these instead as threats to democracy:

1) Social Media: 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%).

2) Financial Industry: 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%).

3) US Influence: The countries where people think that the US has had the most negative impact on democracy around the world are: Austria (66% negative), Germany (62%), Denmark (59%), Switzerland (58%) and Canada (58%).

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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 census.gov. The average margin of error across all countries sampled is (+/-) 2.77%.

Data Collection

Dalia’s surveys are conducted online through internet-connected devices, such as smartphones, tablets and computers. Dalia follows an open recruitment approach that leverages the reach of over 40.000 third-party apps and mobile websites. To ensure coverage across different demographic groups and geographical regions, Dalia targets a highly diverse set of apps and websites – from news to shopping, to sports and games. As a result, Dalia generates up to 21 million answers every month from respondents living in as many as 100 different countries.

Data Privacy and Anonymity

Once a user opts-in to complete a survey, Dalia informs the respondent about the nature of market research and explains that all answers – including the generic demographics that are part of the targeting and quality assurance process – are recorded anonymously. To ensure respondent privacy and a high quality of response data, Dalia does not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) on users. In contrast to surveys conducted face-to-face or by telephone, the anonymity offered with Dalia’s methodology may help reduce response bias, interviewer bias and respondent self-censorship.

About Dalia Research

Dalia Research was founded in Berlin in 2013 with a clear vision to utilize mobile technology to change the way attitudinal data is collected, analysed and presented. Harnessing the app economy and combining advanced data science with real-time targeting and attribution technologies, Dalia’s insights engine distributes millions of micro surveys worldwide to gather and analyze real-time data on consumer attitudes, public opinion and market trends.

For more information, please contact:

Frederick DeVeaux
Senior Researcher at Dalia Research
frederick.deveaux@daliaresearch.com
+49 30 695 995 90

 

About Rasmussen Global

Established in 2014 by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Rasmussen Global is an international team with experience on the frontline of international politics, diplomacy, and communications. Rasmussen Global’s head office is in Copenhagen, and they work across key decision centres in Brussels, Berlin, London and Washington DC. Their clients include international consulting firms, major companies, and foreign governments.

Rasmussen Global
+45 31907900
media@rasmussenglobal.com
www.rasmussenglobal.com

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