English title: Satisfaction with the way democracy works: How respondents across countries understand the question

Author(s): Dorothée Behr - Michael Braun -

Language: English

Type: Book chapter

Year: 2015


In Chapter 6, Dorothée Behr and Michael Braun summarize key findings concerning “satisfaction with democracy”, something which belongs among the central concepts in political science. There is much discussion of the question typically used to operationalise the concept measures: support for the incumbent authorities, support for the political system itself, support for democracy as a general form of government, a combination of these or other aspects. In order to provide empirical evidence on the cross-national comparability of these questions, panellists of online access panels from Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Canada, and the United States were asked to give reasons for their answers directly after they had answered the closed-ended question in the ESS wording, “How satisfied are you with the way democracy works in [country]?”. As a general evaluation, one may conclude that in a comparative perspective the satisfaction with democracy question is not a bad one. Policy outcomes, governance (e.g., incumbent politicians), and aspects of the concrete political system play an important role in all countries, while the question, at least in the countries in this study, is not a measure of support for democracy compared to other forms of government. On the whole, substantive argumentation patterns match the answers to the closed-ended question.

From page no: 121

To page no: 138

Anthology: Hopes and anxieties. Six waves of the European Social Survey

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