Is democracy in a global “crisis”? If so, how does the situation today compare to similar moments of doubt – Western Europe in the 1970s, or the emerging market financial crises of the late 1990s?
At the launch of the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Future of Democracy, Dr Roberto Foa will answer these questions, presenting key findings from his report on public satisfaction with democracy – across countries and regions from 1962 to 2020.
Profs David Runciman and Helen Thompson – of Talking Politics – will then comment and respond.
Providing a definitive global perspective spanning five decades, Dr Foa’s report uses a unique dataset of over 9 million respondents from more than 160 countries, and combines publicly available datasets with specially-commissioned cross-country surveys from YouGov.
The data show the crisis of democracy is real, but not universal. Some countries – in particular, the new EU member states of Central and Eastern Europe, and new democracies in East Asia – are recovering their faith in democratic governance following the shocks of the 1990s.
Yet, across Latin America, Southern Europe, in the United Kingdom and the United States, satisfaction with democracy has now reached historic lows – a drop that has largely occurred in the last five to ten years. Is this an aberration? Or an ominous warning of a sharp and enduring change in the nature of democratic politics that will last for many years to come?