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The democratic world is showing signs of increasing weakness, a process that has now been taking place for several years. Rising abstention rates, the significant vote share achieved by populist parties, and the crisis affecting mainstream parties are the most striking symptoms of this phenomenon. To varying degrees, most democracies share a common distrust of political institutions and stakeholders. This dominates public opinion virtually everywhere, even in countries where the democratic system appeared to have a stronger hold.
Democracies are feeling the effects of major historic change. Although essential to social cohesion, solidarity policies are being undermined by population ageing. Globalisation has raised doubts over states’ ability to regulate or even govern. While the value of voting is still not widely questioned in the democratic world, citizens increasingly doubt how effective and worthwhile it is.
The democratic system is embarking on a new chapter in its history. Its future is uncertain. As such, it is important to gain a clearer understanding of the current state of democracy. The survey ‘What next for democracy?’ was designed by the Fondation pour l’innovation politique with precisely this in mind. The polling institute Ipsos was commissioned to conduct it, which involved administering a questionnaire in 23 languages. Over 22,000 citizens were interviewed in 26 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The survey addresses a number of issues including the level of support among respondents for the concept of voting, trust in institutions, the rise of authoritarianism, trust in governments and the media, views on the police and armed forces, public opinion on the death penalty, immigration, abortion, refugees and Islam. Our aim is to use the data collected and presented in this book to contribute to research on the future of the democratic system in the age of demographic transition and globalisation.
“What next for democracy?” is available here
Click here to access data from the survey
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