Dalia Research – a German global survey organization established in 2013 and led today by former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen – polls the sentiments of hundreds of thousands of people across the world using IT micro-surveys.
It boasts of its ability to generate over 1 billion responses. One of its regular outputs is the Democracy Perception Index, and this year they have new eye-opening findings.
Polling 120,000 people across 53 countries some Dalia Research key findings in its 2020 survey about peoples’ attitudes to democracy in the world are:
78% of people around the world say that democracy is important to have in their country;
40% of all people living in “democracies” believe that their country is not actually democratic; and
43% of the global population say that their system only serves a small group of people in their country.
We presume the Dalia Research takes the term “democracy” to mean electoral democracy, as the “Western democracies” defines it in contrast to what they see as “authoritarian” governments like China. However, the survey includes such “people’s democracy” or “socialist democracies” as well as monarchies such as Saudi Arabia.
In that way a more balanced and complete picture of the global attitudes to democracy and governments is actually measured – which should be appreciated.
While holding up Western “democracy” as the paradigm of egalitarian virtue, Western academics and its media invariable criticize China as “totalitarian” or “authoritarian,” never accepting it as a genuine democracy.
China is often held up as an example of an oppressive and repressive system
The survey found that 43% of respondents around the world say their respective government serves only the minority or elitist.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of Americans surveyed said their government serves only the minority.
In contrast, only 13% of Chinese respondents said their government served only the minority; i.e. 87% of the Chinese see their government as serving the majority of the people.
By this standard, which country is more democratic?
Ranking the 53 respondent countries in the scale of the most populist to the most elitist, the U.S. is 20th among the most elitist countries.
On the other hand, China is ranked second among the most populist countries, second only to another socialist democracy Vietnam of which 88% of its people see its government as serving the majority of the people.
Singapore is ranked third among the “populist” governments 71% of its people saying it serves the majority.
Vietnam is of course like China, a one-party led socialist democracy. Singapore is only marginally considered by the West as an electoral democracy. It has had only one ruling and governing political party since the founding of its Republic, with security and media laws ensuring the perpetual domination of the island-state’s politics.
Tying Singapore at third place with 19% is a shocker – Saudi Arabia, but it has had the resources to make its citizens happy but its elite even happier at the same time.
The Dalia survey finds the Filipino people more positive about their government: only 25% of Filipino respondents think its government serves only the minority, i.e. 75% believe President Duterte is truly serving the majority of the people. The Philippines ranks no. 7 among the countries that have faith its government is serving the people – i.e. not elitist. But as the better-informed Filipinos are well-aware that there’s a lot more work to be done to improve that.
In light of the current global COVID-19 crisis, the survey appropriately included the question of the various peoples’ judgment of their government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
95% of the Chinese people approve of their government’s handling, sharing the highest rank with Vietnam.
53% of Americans say their government performed well – only Brazil is five ranks lower which fared the worst at 35%.
Sixty-three percent (63%) of Filipinos are satisfied with the government’s handling of the crisis.
The survey asked about the performance of the US and China on the COVID-19 crisis. Ander Fogh Rasmussen is quoted saying, “COVID-19 is also a litmus test for democracy”, in this China again beats the U.S. 50 to three; that is, only three countries out of the 53 surveyed say the US handled the coronavirus better than China, and only a third of people around the world said the US responded well compared to 60% who said China was better.
Does the U.S. help or hurt democracies around the world? Asked Dalia Research. As the British publication, The Guardian reported it, “Reflecting Donald Trump’s unpopularity globally, only a third of Europeans believe the US is a positive force for global democracy, compared with half who say it has had a negative impact.” (ia/SovereignPH.com)