Global youth increasingly doubt benefits of democracy – Soros poll

Lazy eyes listen


According to a poll of over 36,000 people in 30 countries, younger people increasingly believe that democracy is incapable of finding solutions to the issues that most affect them.

The findings of a wide-ranging poll conducted by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) between May and July of this year show that, while democracy remains the preferred option for the vast majority of respondents, only 57% of those aged 18 to 35 believe it is preferable to other forms of governance.

“Our findings are both sobering and alarming,” OSF president Mark Malloch Brown said of the poll, which was released on Tuesday. “People all over the world still want to believe in democracy, but that faith is fading as doubts grow about its ability to bring about tangible changes in their lives.”

According to the research, 35% of younger people believe that having a “strong leader” who does not hold elections or engage with legislators is a “good way to run a country.” In the same age group, 42% supported military control, while 20% of older respondents said the same.

However, the poll found strong support (between 85% and 95%) across all age groups and income levels for a multitude of topics, most notably that governments should not discriminate against individuals based on their appearance, religion, sexual or gender identity.

Poverty, inequality, and the environment disaster were also mentioned as the most serious issues confronting people today, yet more than half (53%) believed their country was heading in the wrong path. A third of those polled said they believed politicians were not acting in the best interests of their citizens.

“Confidence in the foundational elements of democracy coexists with profound doubts about its real-world practise and impact,” Brown explained.

Meanwhile, an estimated 70% were afraid that the climate catastrophe will have a detrimental influence on their livelihoods in the following 12 months.

The survey also discovered that, while migration has been in the news frequently recently, only 7% considered it to be a big problem, with 66% favouring the establishment of safer and more legal routes of migration.