UK on par with Russia in confidence in political system, study shows

The UK is on a par with Russia when it comes to trust in the workings of the political system: it ranks in the bottom half of countries, according to a global survey.

Only one in six (17%) of the UK public surveyed say they are very satisfied with how the political system works, and twice this proportion (32%) say they are dissatisfied.

The analysis of 23 countries, carried out by the Institute for Policy at King’s College London (KCL), was carried out as part of the World Values ​​Survey (WVS), one of the largest and most widely used academic social surveys in the world.

The latest UK data was collected in 2022, a year in which Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister after his government came under investigation for Covid breaches during the lockdown, while Liz Truss held the post for 44 days before stepping down. .

Boris Johnson resigns
The data was collected in 2022, a year in which two prime ministers resigned (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The UK ranks among the lowest countries surveyed, with satisfaction levels similar to Russia (16%), Mexico (17%) and Nigeria (15%).

It lags far behind countries like Norway (41%), Canada (36%) and Germany (36%), but ahead of France (13%), the US (12%) and Italy (12%).

Among the nations in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland is by far the least satisfied with the way its political system works, with just 8% saying they are very satisfied and 56% dissatisfied.

However, British support for democracy has risen over the last two decades, with those thinking it is a very or fairly good way to run the country at 90% in 2022, up from 76% in 1999.

Professor Bobby Duffy, Director of the KCL Policy Institute, said: “Support for the idea of ​​democracy is extremely high and rising in the UK, but we are much less convinced of how it works for us at the moment.

“The vast majority say democracy is a good idea and important, but only 17% of us are very satisfied with how our political system currently works, putting us in the bottom half of international league tables.

“There is no evidence here that people in the UK are tired of the principle of democracy and are becoming more open to authoritarian models of government; we run the risk of mixing the dissatisfaction with the results that people have experienced in recent years with a decline in support for the system as a whole.

“For example, only minorities support the idea of ​​a strong leader who ignores elections or army rule, and this hasn’t really changed in recent decades. It’s true that millennials seemed less enthusiastic about democracy as they reached adulthood, but now they’ve aligned much more with previous generations.

“What has changed is increased support for expert decision-making roles at the national level, which is now at record levels in the UK. It is easy to caricature the UK as drifting towards identity-based politics and sympathy for authoritarian models of government, but the reality shown in these long-term trends and international comparisons is that we are still committed to democracy and recognize the importance of experience.

KCL said 3,056 adults were interviewed across the UK.


Leave a Reply