Democracy

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One of the most striking findings in our polling history has been about the value Australians place on democracy. Over the last seven years, Australians, particularly young Australians, have consistently indicated a surprising ambivalence about democracy as a system of government.

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Democracy

Since 2012, the Lowy Institute Poll has included a question, asked by the Pew Research Center in a number of other countries, to determine Australians’ attitudes to democracy in this country. The results have been consistent and thought-provoking. This year, in a result almost identical to those in earlier years, 62% of Australians say ‘democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’. One in five (20%) say ‘in some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable’, and 15% say that ‘for someone like me, it doesn’t matter what kind of government we have’. 

In earlier years, the responses of younger Australians belonging to ‘Generation Y’ (those born between approximately 1980 and the mid-1990s) suggested that this age group felt quite differently about democracy than their elders. In 2012, only 39% of these young Australians, then aged 18–29 years old, expressed a preference for democracy. 

This year, it is the response of a broader group aged 18–45 years which differs from older Australians: only 47% of that group say democracy is preferable, compared with 76% of those aged 45 and older.

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Democracy

I am going to read you three statements about democracy. Please say which one of the three statements comes closest to your own personal views about democracy.


  • HOW TO USE
    • Hover cursor over chart segments to view data. Click responses in the legend to switch individual results on and off.

close

Democracy

Since 2012, the Lowy Institute Poll has included a question, asked by the Pew Research Center in a number of other countries, to determine Australians’ attitudes to democracy in this country. The results have been consistent and thought-provoking. This year, in a result almost identical to those in earlier years, 62% of Australians say ‘democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’. One in five (20%) say ‘in some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable’, and 15% say that ‘for someone like me, it doesn’t matter what kind of government we have’. 

In earlier years, the responses of younger Australians belonging to ‘Generation Y’ (those born between approximately 1980 and the mid-1990s) suggested that this age group felt quite differently about democracy than their elders. In 2012, only 39% of these young Australians, then aged 18–29 years old, expressed a preference for democracy. 

This year, it is the response of a broader group aged 18–45 years which differs from older Australians: only 47% of that group say democracy is preferable, compared with 76% of those aged 45 and older.

close

Democracy

I am going to read you three statements about democracy. Please say which one of the three statements comes closest to your own personal views about democracy.


  • HOW TO USE
    • Hover cursor over chart segments to view data. Click responses in the legend to switch individual results on and off.