A global poll has found that people consider the United States to be the greatest threat to democracy, despite the nation’s rhetoric.
While the US seemingly prides itself on its democracy, the country has been voted as the biggest threat to it. The findings come from a poll commissioned by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation which had 50,000 respondents from 53 countries.
The data gathered gives insight into how people view their governments as well as foreign powers. However, the most striking finding was that 44% of correspondents feared that the US was a threat to democracy in their country.
In comparison, other countries like China and Russia only concerned 38% and 28% of those surveyed. The survey was conducted between February and April of 2021 and as a result, current events could have impacted the poll. Shortly before the poll, former President Trump had refused to acknowledge the result of a democratic vote, and there were riots in the Capitol to delay the democratic transition of power.
On a larger scale, a history of US military intervention may have concerned those who were surveyed when it came to democratic disruption in their own country. The survey also found that many US citizens were concerned about large tech companies impacting their democratic rights.
On the back of these kinds of factors, the view that the US is a threat to democracy has increased from a net opinion of +6 to a net opinion of +14 since last year. China and Germany both saw sharp increases in this opinion.
On top of noting threats to democracy, the study also showed how people value it. The survey noted that 81% of people around the world valued democracy in their country. However, only 53% of those who responded said that they considered their nation to be democratic.
Assessing the results, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, said:
This poll shows that democracy is still alive in people’s hearts and minds. We now need to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic by delivering more democracy and freedom to people who want to see their countries become more democratic.
The positive support for an Alliance of Democracies, whether the UK’s D10 initiative or President Biden’s Summit for Democracy, shows that people want more cooperation to push back against the autocrats. Leaders should take note of these perceptions and act upon them.
It will be interesting to see whether countries take this feedback on board and begin to address how democracy is viewed.