Democracy and Elections:
The Latest Annual International Survey

Free and fair elections and governance by the will of people are preconditions of a strong democracy, but only 37% of citizens living in the recognized democratic countries agree that these principles are met at home. These results come from the latest global research Voice of the People (VOP), conducted by Gallup International Association, which BVA Doxa is part of and responsible for the data collection in Italy. Data reveal that every third citizen declares that none of the two principles are valid and 23% believe that only one is true for their country.

ARE NATIONS GOVERNED BY THE WILL OF THEIR PEOPLE? – According to the results of the survey,

46% of the world’s population agree that their country is ruled by the will of people. Of course, differences in social and cultural background entail different ways in which people tend to evaluate their governments. The least satisfied with the democratic nature of their governance seem to be citizens in the eastern part of the EU, Latin America, and Russia. The USA shows shares of confidence similar to the global average, while Bosnia and Herzegovina (8%), Kenya (18%), Bulgaria (19%) and Colombia (22%) are at the bottom of the scale.

ARE ELECTIONS FREE AND FAIR? – The latest survey reveals that 53% of people worldwide consider the elections in their country free and fair, while 42% believe the opposite: among the world regions, citizens in the western EU strongly believe in the freedom and fairness of the elections(77%). The least satisfied with the election process are, when it comes to macro regions, people in the Middle East (35%), Russia (36%) and Africa (40%) and, when it comes to specific countries, citizens in countries like Nigeria (15%), Iraq (14%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (9%). When considering the VOP index (that reflects people’s perceptions on the two essential democracy values, the governance by the will of people and free and fair elections), 37% of the respondents worldwide believe that their voice is strongly heard.

A CLOSER LOOK TO EUROPE AND ITALY – Some European countries stand out when it comes to elections’ freedom and fairness: people in Finland almost unanimously agree that the elections in their country are generally free and fair (94%), and positive answers are also widespread in Austria (84%) and Germany (82%). When it comes to Italy, 58% of citizens agree that the elections are free and fair, a share similar to the European average, which amounts at 60%.

In Europe, 41% of the respondents believe their country is ruled by the will of people (-5% compared to the global average), and slightly higher is the percentage of people in Italy agreeing to the statement (43%). In Europe, besides Bosnia Herzegovina, which scores among the lowest even when considering the global average, countries that score the lowest are Russia, Poland and Ukraine, where those who agree that the country is ruled by the will of people amount to 36%, 31% and 23% respectively. Switzerland and Finland are among the countries in EU with the highest percentage of agreement (65% in both countries).

This year, the Gallup International End of Year Survey (EoY) was carried out in 44 countries around the world, and a total of 41,998 persons were interviewed globally. In each country a representative sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed during October-December 2020 via either face to face, telephone or online interviews.



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