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Global Views on Democracy

logo wingiaWIN/Gallup International shows that even though democracy is thoroughly accepted worldwide, many people believe their governments do not follow the general will.

WIN/Gallup International, the world’s leading association in market research and polling, has published today an opinion poll on democracy in the world - 60,190 people were interviewed in 62 countries across the globe.


  • The world population shows a high degree of acceptance for democracy: 76% believe that democracy may have problems but it is the best system of government. There is consensus all over the world.
  • However, when asked about whether they feel their countries are governed by the will of people the scope of the consensus falls considerably: half of those surveyed (50%) agree but 46% disagree.
  • The two countries where most people say that the general will prevails are Fiji and Afghanistan. The two where most people believe the opposite are Armenia and Latvia.
  • The survey highlights both a strong acceptance of democracy as a principle and criticism of how the system actually works.


People in the 62 nations surveyed were asked whether they agree with the notion that democracy may have problems but is the best system of government. An ample majority of citizens (76%) agree or somewhat agree, while 20% disagree or somewhat disagree.

 “Democracy may have problems but it is the best system of government?”


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The perception of democracy as the best system of government is prevalent in all population segments and becomes even stronger among those more educated and those with a higher income.

Religious believers as non-believers single-out democracy as the best system of government, with extremely high levels of agreement within every major religion, including Jews, Protestants, Hindus, Catholics, Muslims and Buddhists.

“Democracy may have problems but it is the best system of government?”

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Regarding the different regions of the world, we find the strongest acceptance of democracy in North America (82%), Africa (80%) and Western Europe (80%).

However, and even though a majority supports democracy, the level of acceptance is lower in North Asia (55%), Eastern Europe (64%) and Latin America (68%).

Among the countries that approve democracy the most, despite its problems, we find Sweden (93%), Morocco (92%), Argentina (91%), Switzerland (90%), Kenya (89%), Finland (87%), Fiji (87%), Portugal (88%), Germany (86%), Turkey (86%), Austria (85%) and Iceland (84%).

On the other hand, the 10 nations where less people believe that democracy is the best system of government are Mexico (54% agree, 43% disagree), Hong Kong (55% vs. 39%), the Palestine Territories (49% vs. 33%), Bulgaria (52% vs. 32%), Bosnia (56% vs. 36%), Japan (46% vs. 24% with 30% not responding), Serbia (57% vs. 32%), Lebanon (61% vs. 34%), Romania (58% vs. 29%) and Colombia (65% vs. 34%).


“Would you say that your country is governed by the will of the people?”

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Citizens were also asked whether their country is governed by the will of the people, 50% of those surveyed agree or somewhat agree, while 46% disagree or somewhat disagree. There are differences between the regions of the world, as seen in the following chart.

“Would you say that your country is governed by the will of the people?”

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Looking at the different regions we find that where there is the strongest agreement with the notion that countries are governed by the will of the people is in West and East Asia (60% and 69% respectively).

There is more disagreement with this notion in Eastern Europe (55% disagree against 39% who agree), Western Europe (56% vs. 40%) and Latin America (58% vs. 40%).

In the other regions (North America, Africa, Middle East and North Africa and the rest of Asia) the opinions are more evenly split between those who believe that the will of the people prevails and those who think otherwise.

Looking at the 62 countries surveyed, we find that in 26 of them there are more citizens who believe that the country is governed by the will of the people, 32 where more people believe that the opposite happens and four where the opinions are evenly split.

The 10 countries where most citizens think they are governed by the will of the people are Fiji, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Morocco, Indonesia, Sweden, Ecuador, Kenya, Panama and Pakistan. The 10 countries where a large majority of those interviewed rejected the idea that they are governed by the will of the people are Armenia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Mexico, Bosnia, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Greece, Belgium and Spain.

 “Would you say that your country is governed by the will of the people?”

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Jean-Marc Leger, President of WIN/Gallup International Association, said: ‘The survey finds that democracy has not failed as a norm, but doesn’t make unanimity. Those who have practiced democracy the longest, especially in Europe, are the most doubtful about the idea that their country is governed by the will of the people. WIN/Gallup International dug deeper on this important question in its ‘Voice of the People 2015 book’ based on ten year trend data.’





The End of Year Survey is an annual tradition initiated by and designed under the chairmanship of Dr. George Gallup in 1977. It is conducted every year since then. This year it was carried out by the WIN/Gallup International Association in 65 countries around the world.

The questions asking for agreement with “Democracy may have problems but it is the best system of government” and “The country is governed by the will of people” were asked in 62 countries as part of the WIN/Gallup International End of Year Survey.

Global Sample Size and Mode of Field Work:


A total of 63,898 persons were interviewed globally. In each country a representative sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed either face to face (31 countries; n=33862), via telephone (12 countries; n=9784) or online (22 countries; n=20356). Details are attached. The field work was conducted during September 2014 - December 2014. The margin of error for the survey is between 2.14 and 4.45 +3-5% at 95% confidence level. The global average has been computed according to the share of the covered adult population of the surveyed countries.


Countries included within each region in this press release:

North America : Canada and United States

Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Peru

Western Europe: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (and Australia was also included)

Eastern Europe: Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Kosovo, Latvia, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine

Africa : South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria

Mena: Algeria, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza)

West Asia:Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Turkey,

South Asia :Bangladesh and India

East Asia : Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam;

North Asia: Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Rep (South) and Papua New Guinea


About the WIN/Gallup International:


WIN/Gallup International is the leading association in market research and polling and is made up of the 75 largest independent market research and polling firms in their respective countries with combined revenue of over €500 million and covering 95% of the world’s market.

For more than 60 years WIN/Gallup International Members have demonstrated their expert ability to conduct multi-country surveys on a comparable basis and deliver the highest quality. Their Members are leading national institutes with a profound local knowledge of research methods and techniques, statistical sources, customs and culture differences of its own country and carefully selected by the Association Board. With only one Member agency per country, Members work together on a daily basis to share knowledge, new research techniques and tools, as well as to provide the most appropriate solutions to international research projects and service our clients to the best of our abilities.

The accumulated expertise of the Association is formidable - they have internationally renowned experts in public opinion, Third World issues, advertising, and media research as well as in commercial fields such as IT/telecommunications, healthcare, retail, economics, corporate research and so on. Members are at the leading edge of technical and methodological developments, which have impacted on not only the research industry but also the whole commercial world.


Disclaimer: WIN/Gallup International Association or its members are not related to Gallup Inc., headquartered in Washington D.C which is no longer a member of WIN/Gallup International Association. WIN/Gallup International Association does not accept responsibility for opinion polling other than its own. We require that our surveys be credited fully as WIN/Gallup International (not Gallup or Gallup Poll). For further details see website: www.wingia.com



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