Liberal Democracy’s Crisis of Confidence

Issue Date October 2018
Volume 29
Issue 4
Page Numbers 136-150
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Liberal democracy is experiencing a crisis of confidence, and recent public-opinion research from a variety of sources has added to these anxieties. Using data from Pew Research Center cross-national surveys, this article finds that while democracy is broadly popular, there is nonetheless a surprisingly high degree of openness to nondemocratic modes of governing in many nations. And even though people tend to believe it is important to live in a country where democratic rights are respected, support for these rights is often tepid. In short, liberal democracy is popular among average citizens, but their commitment to this system of government is frequently underwhelming.

About the Authors

Richard Wike

Richard Wike is director of global attitudes research at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.

View all work by Richard Wike

Janell Fetterolf

Janell Fetterolf is a research associate at the Pew Research Center.

View all work by Janell Fetterolf