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The Guardian

US seen as bigger threat to democracy than Russia or China, global poll finds

Belief in significance of democracy excessive in 53 sampled international locations however inequality and large tech corporations seen as largest threats More democratic international locations’ response to the coronavirus pandemic was rated worse than that of much less democratic international locations. Photograph: Getty Images The US faces an uphill activity presenting itself because the chief guardian of worldwide democracy, in response to a brand new ballot that reveals the US is seen world wide as extra of a menace to democracy than even Russia and China. The ballot finds assist for democracy stays excessive though residents in democratic international locations fee their governments’ dealing with of the Covid disaster much less properly than individuals in much less democratic international locations. Inequality is seen as the largest menace to world democracy, however within the US the ability of massive tech corporations can be seen as a problem. The findings are available in a ballot commissioned by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation amongst 50,000 respondents in 53 international locations. The outcomes will make stark studying for the G7 international ministers as they maintain a closing day of talks in London wherein they’ve collectively assumed the function as bulwarks of democratic values decided to confront autocracy. The survey was carried out by the Latana polling firm between February and April, so a hangover impact of Donald Trump’s “America first” international coverage could linger within the findings. Overall the outcomes present perceptions of the US beginning to enhance from final yr. Whereas within the spring of 2020 individuals in each extra democratic and fewer democratic international locations had been equally happy with their authorities’s pandemic response (70%), a yr later the approval scores have dropped all the way down to 65% in much less democratic international locations, however in additional democratic international locations the ranking has fallen to 51%. In Europe the determine is 45%. Positive scores attain 76% in Asia. In maybe probably the most startling discovering, almost half (44%) of respondents within the 53 international locations surveyed are involved that the US threatens democracy of their nation; concern of Chinese affect is in contrast 38%, and concern of Russian affect is lowest at 28%. The findings could partly replicate views on US comparative energy, however they present neither the US, nor the G7, can merely assume the mantle of defenders of democracy. Since final yr, the notion of US affect as a menace to democracy world wide has elevated considerably, from a web opinion of +6 to a web opinion of +14. This enhance is especially excessive in Germany (+20) and China (+16). The international locations nonetheless overwhelmingly adverse about US affect are Russia and China, adopted by European democracies. The research reveals an attachment to democracy globally, with 81% of individuals world wide saying that you will need to have democracy of their nation. Only a little bit greater than half (53%) say their nation is definitely democratic immediately – even in democracies. The single largest cited menace to democracy is financial inequality (64%). In nearly each nation surveyed save Saudi Arabia and Egypt limits to free speech are seen as much less of a menace to democracy than inequality. China: simply the correct amount of democracy, in response to 71% of respondents there. Photograph: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images But half the individuals surveyed (48%) say the ability of massive tech corporations, versus the straightforward existence of social media, is a menace to democracy of their nation. Among democracies, the US is probably the most involved about huge tech (62%), however wariness is rising in lots of international locations in contrast with final yr, mirrored in broad assist for larger regulation of social media. Voters in Norway, Switzerland and Sweden are most assured their nation is democratic, however so are the Chinese, the place 71% agree that China has the correct amount of democracy. In Russia solely 33% suppose their nation is democratic. Global assist for Joe Biden’s plans to stage a Democracy Summit is excessive in each nation save China and Russia. The findings may even make disturbing studying for the jap European democracies equivalent to Hungary the place solely 31% of voters suppose their nation is democratic – on a par with findings in Nigeria, Iran, Poland and Venezuela. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, former Nato chief and Danish prime minister, mentioned: “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.”

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