Democracy Remains Popular but People Worldwide are Questioning its Performance

  • 2024

Democracy is still the best form of governance for a clear majority across 43 countries around the world but many are becoming less convinced and the dominant public opinion is that they are not ruled by the will of people.

Further, while elections are considered mostly free and fair, trust in them is shattered (even in some of the most stable democracies).

These are some highlights by the new poll on democracy, conducted in 43 countries and representing around half of the world’s population.

Democracy may have its flaws, but it is the best system of governance for the majorly of the population around the world – so say 59% across 43 countries. Just 14% disagree with one in five neither agreeing nor disagreeing.


EU countries seem to agree the most that despite its flaws democracy is the best form of governance (71%). Those attitudes, however, are more prominent in the western parts of the Union (77%) than in the Eastern (60%). Non-EU European countries also favour democracy, yet not with the same confidence (57%). There are of course exceptions such as Kosovo, which is among those countries globally which are most confident in the democracy as a system.

Democracy seems to be favoured all around the world, however in regions as West Asia and East Asia and Latin America approval of democracy is not so prominent – around 50%, as in the Western parts of the world it reaches between 60% and 70% of the respondents’ answers.

The case of Russia is particularly interesting – where only 22% of the respondents agree that democracy is the best system of governance and 13% disagree; the remainer are either unsure (32%) or don’t know (34%).

Two of the basic preconditions for democracy are however at risk. A lesser share around the world agrees that their country is in fact ruled by the will of people (35%) with 40% disagreeing with the statement.

Results show that some of the countries and regions around the world, many of which are considered staples of democracy, seem to be most critical towards the way their country is ruled. In USA (25%), Canada (30%) and EU (32%) some of the smallest shares of agreement are registered with the statement “My country is ruled by the will of people”.  

In the run up to a Presidential election in Russia our survey reveals only 13% of the respondents agree that they are ruled by the will of the people.

In huge countries and regions like India (68%) some countries from Latin America (42%) and the Middle East (44%) people are much more prone to say the feel that their country is ruled by their will.

Similar are attitudes towards elections – 44% consider them to be fair and free, a third around the world however does not agree with such a statement.

Elections are considered most free and fair in India (66%), EU (especially the Western countries – around 68%, and less so in the eastern EU– 36%). Canada and USA also have relatively high shares of people trusting the elections to be fair and free – around a half of the respondents. In Africa, West Asia and Russia more people think that the elections are not free and fair than those who are confident that their elections actually represent people’s will.

Kancho Stoychev, president of GIA:

“There is no majority around the world believing that their country is not ruled by the will of the people, but less than half of the global citizens are convinced that the elections in their own country are free and fair – does this indicate a crisis of democracy? A crisis which according to our research is deepening in the last 25 years? This is a complex issue. In a world in which every voice is a media of its own and in which we witness a war on fake news, the perception of “rule of the people” and “free and fair” loses its contours. But the gap between people and elites is not only growing – it seems that it is becoming insurmountable. And radicalization is an obvious reaction in almost all over the political spectrum.”

For more information

Kancho Stoychev (in Sofia), +359 88 8611025
Johnny Heald (in London), +44 7973 600308
Dr Munqith Dagher (in Baghdad) +962 7 9967 2229
Steven Kang (in Seoul) +82-2-3702-2550
Antonio Asencio Guillen (in Madrid) +34 608191334
Torbjörn Sjöström (in Stockholm) +46 8 128 196 71


The Gallup International End of Year Survey (EoY) is an annual tradition initiated by and designed under the chairmanship of Dr. George Gallup in 1977. The survey is conducted every year since then. This year it was carried out in 43 countries around the world.

Sample Size and Mode of Fieldwork

A total of 44 603 persons were interviewed globally. In each country a representative sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed during October – December 2023 either face to face, via telephone or online.
The margin of error for the survey is between +3 – 5% at 95% confidence level.

About Gallup International

Gallup International Association (GIA) is the leading global independent association in market research and polling.

For more than 75 years Gallup International members have demonstrated their expert ability to conduct multi-country surveys on a comparable basis and deliver the highest quality. Our more than 100 members and partners are leading national institutes with a profound local knowledge of research methods and techniques, statistical sources, customs, and culture differences of its own country and carefully selected by the Association Board. With only one member agency per country, members work together daily to share knowledge, new research techniques and tools, as well as to provide the most appropriate solutions to international research projects and service our clients to the best of our abilities.