lunes, 23 de octubre de 2017

The Partisan Divide on Political Values Grows Even Wider

Rubén Weinsteiner

Sharp shifts among Democrats on aid to needy, race, immigration

The divisions between Republicans and Democrats on fundamental political values – on government, race, immigration, national security, environmental protection and other areas – reached record levels during Barack Obama’s presidency. In Donald Trump’s first year as president, these gaps have grown even larger.

And the magnitude of these differences dwarfs other divisions in society, along such lines as gender, race and ethnicity, religious observance or education.

A new study by Pew Research Center, based on surveys of more than 5,000 adults conducted over the summer, finds widening differences between Republicans and Democrats on a range of measures the Center has been asking about since 1994, as well as those with more recent trends. But in recent years, the gaps on several sets of political values in particular – including measures of attitudes about the social safety net, race and immigration – have increased dramatically.

Government aid to needy. Over the past six years, the share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying the government should do more to help the needy, even if it means going deeper into debt, has risen 17 percentage points (from 54% to 71%), while the views of Republicans and Republican leaners have barely changed (25% then, 24% today). However, Republicans’ opinions on this issue had shifted substantially between 2007 and 2011, with the share favoring more aid to the needy falling 20 points (from 45% to 25%).

The result: While there has been a consistent party gap since 1994 on government aid to the poor, the divisions have never been this large. In 2011, about twice as many Democrats as Republicans said the government should do more for the needy (54% vs. 25%). Today, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans say this (71% vs. 24%).

Racial discrimination. In recent years, Democrats’ views on racial discrimination also have changed, driving an overall shift in public opinion. Currently, 41% of Americans say racial discrimination is the main reason many blacks cannot get ahead – the largest share expressing this view in surveys dating back 23 years. Still, somewhat more Americans (49%) say blacks who cannot get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition.

When the racial discrimination question was first asked in 1994, the partisan difference was 13 points. By 2009, it was only somewhat larger (19 points). But today, the gap in opinions between Republicans and Democrats about racial discrimination and black advancement has increased to 50 points.

Immigration. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say immigrants strengthen the country “because of their hard work and talents.” Just 26% say immigrants are a burden “because they take our jobs, housing and health care.” Views of immigrants, though little changed from a year ago, are more positive than at any point in the past two decades.

As with views of racial discrimination, there has been a major shift in Democrats’ opinions about immigrants. The share of Democrats who say immigrants strengthen the country has increased from 32% in 1994 to 84% today. By contrast, Republicans are divided in attitudes about immigrants: 42% say they strengthen the country, while 44% view them as a burden. In 1994, 30% of Republicans said immigrants strengthened the country, while 64% said they were a burden.

“Peace through strength.” About six-in-ten Americans (61%) say good diplomacy is the best way to ensure peace, while 30% say peace is ensured by military strength. Opinions in both parties have changed since the 1990s; Democrats increasingly say peace is ensured by good diplomacy, while Republicans say it is military strength that ensures peace. Today, 83% of Democrats and Democratic leaners see good diplomacy as the way to ensure peace, compared with just 33% of Republicans and Republican leaners.

The surveys were conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults and June 27-July 9 among 2,505 adults, with a follow-up survey conducted Aug. 15-21 among 1,893 respondents. This report was made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support for the surveys from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Party gaps much larger than demographic differences

The partisan shifts on political values over the past 23 years have had different trajectories across different sets of issues. While there has been greater movement among Democrats than Republicans on several issues, on others Republicans have shown more change.

In views of stricter environmental laws and regulations, for example, there has been a larger long-term change among Republicans than Democrats. Republicans are far less supportive of stricter environmental laws than they were in the mid-1990s, while Democrats have become somewhat more supportive.

But the bottom line is this: Across 10 measures that Pew Research Center has tracked on the same surveys since 1994, the average partisan gap has increased from 15 percentage points to 36 points.

Two decades ago, the average partisan differences on these items were only somewhat wider than differences by religious attendance or educational attainment and about as wide as the differences between blacks and whites (14 points, on average). Today, the party divide is much wider than any of these demographic differences.

Partisan gaps have grown even on measures in which opinion in both parties has moved in the same direction, such as support for societal acceptance of homosexuality. Currently, 70% of Americans say homosexuality should be accepted – the highest percentage ever.

For the first time, a majority of Republicans (54%) favor acceptance of homosexuality; just 38% did so in 1994. Yet over this period, the increase in the share of Democrats saying homosexuality should be accepted has been much larger (from 54% to 83%). As a result, partisan differences have gotten larger.

The surveys find that while Republicans and Democrats have grown further apart, there are sizable divisions within both parties on many political values. Younger Republicans differ from older Republicans in attitudes about immigration and several other issues. Among Republicans and Republican leaners younger than 30, 62% say immigrants strengthen the country; half as many Republicans ages 65 and older say the same (31%).

In recent years, there has been a decline in the share of Democrats who say that most people can get ahead if they work hard. Only about half of Democrats (49%) express this view, down from 58% three years ago. A large majority of Republicans (77%) continue to say hard work pays off for most people.

Democrats are divided by education and race in their views of hard work and success. White Democrats and those with higher levels of education are less likely than nonwhite Democrats and those with less education to say that hard work leads to success.
Other important findings

Partisan antipathy remains extensive. The shares of Republicans and Democrats who express very unfavorable opinions of the opposing party have increased dramatically since the 1990s, but have changed little in recent years. Currently, 44% of Democrats and Democratic leaners have a very unfavorable opinion of the GOP, based on yearly averages of Pew Research Center surveys; 45% of Republicans and Republican leaners view the Democratic Party very unfavorably. In 1994, fewer than 20% in both parties viewed the opposing party very unfavorably.

Big house, small house. Our studies of political polarization and partisan antipathy both found that the disagreements between Republicans and Democrats go far beyond political values and issues. They also have markedly different preferences about where they would like to live. Most Republicans (65%) say they would rather live in a community where houses are larger and farther apart and where schools and shopping are not nearby. A majority of Democrats (61%) prefer smaller houses within walking distance of schools and shopping.

Deep differences over factors for nation’s success. About half of Americans (52%) attribute the country’s success more to “its ability to change,” while 43% say the nation’s “reliance on long-standing principles” has been more important. Most Democrats (68%) link the nation’s success more to its ability to change, while 61% of Republicans point to its reliance on principles. In addition, there are wide age differences, with young people far more likely than older adults to say America’s success is mainly linked to its ability to change.

1. Partisan divides over political values widen

The gap between the political values of Democrats and Republicans is now larger than at any point in Pew Research Center surveys dating back to 1994, a continuation of a steep increase in the ideological divisions between the two parties over more than a decade.

The subsequent chapters explore Americans’ attitudes across individual political values and policy issues, in most cases including data dating back to the late 1990s or early 2000s. In nearly every domain, across most of the roughly two dozen values questions tracked, views of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and those of Democrats and Democratic leaners are now further apart than in the past.

While the overall partisan gap across a variety of political values has steadily grown, the dynamic underlying the growing gap differs across issue areas. In some cases, the gap has grown because the parties have moved in different directions, with growing shares of Democrats taking liberal positions and increasing shares of Republicans taking conservative positions. But in other areas, shifts are greater among one set of partisans than another.

In a few issue areas, notably views of homosexuality and of immigrants, public opinion in both parties has clearly shifted in a more liberal direction over the past several decades. Nevertheless, the partisan gaps on both of these values have gotten wider over the past two decades, as the long-term shifts are more pronounced among Democrats than Republicans.
Overall partisan gap widens over two decades

The 10 political values questions shown above have been asked together in surveys seven times since 1994. On average, there is now a 36-percentage-point difference between Democrats and Republicans across these questions. The current gap represents a modest increase in the partisan divide over the past two years (from 33 points in 2015), but it is substantially wider than two decades ago (the gap was just 15 points in 1994).

Looking at the identical set of items over more than two decades provides a picture of a growing partisan divide. While this analysis is limited to questions consistently asked together going back to 1994, other political values and policy questions that have long trends show a similar pattern of growing partisan divides.

For example, a question about whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its followers is not included among the 10 measures asked since 1994 (it was first asked in 2002). But partisan differences in these attitudes have increased steadily over the past 15 years. What was an 11-percentage-point difference on this question in 2002 now stands at 40 percentage points.

And a question about whether it is more important to control gun ownership or protect gun rights – first asked in 1993 – shows a similar trend of widening differences.

It is important to note that while members of the two parties have grown further apart over the past two decades, this does not necessarily mean there has been a rise in politically “extreme” thinking among either Republicans or Democrats, as Pew Research Center’s 2014 study of political polarization found.
Other societal divisions less pronounced than partisan differences

The extent of the partisan divide across the 10 political values far exceeds divisions along basic demographic lines, such as age, education, gender and race. Even so, some of these divisions also are somewhat wider than in the past.

For instance, on average, there is now a 10-percentage-point gap between Americans ages 50 and older and younger Americans on these questions. That average difference was 6 points in 1994.

And the average gap between those who regularly attend religious services and those who do not has roughly doubled over the past few decades, from just 5 percentage points in 1994 to 11 points today. To some extent, the growing gaps within these demographic groups reflect the increasing degree to which these demographics are associated with partisanship.
Ideological distance and partisanship

Using these 10 questions to create an ideological scale provides another way of illustrating changes in the public’s political values, and a growing divide along partisan lines.

Overall, although many Americans continue to hold a mix of liberal and conservative views across different issue areas, that share has declined over time.

At the same time, the center of the scale has shifted in a somewhat liberal direction over time. To a large extent, this is the result of the public’s growing acceptance of homosexuality and more positive views of immigrants, shifts that are seen among both Democrats and Republicans (GOP attitudes about immigrants are little changed over the last decade, but Republicans are substantially less likely to view immigrants as a burden on the country than they were in the 1990s).

What is the ideological consistency scale?

Reflecting the growing partisan gaps across the 10 questions (even those where both parties have shifted in the same direction), Republicans and Democrats are now further apart ideologically than at any point in more than two decades, a continuation of the trend Pew Research Center first documented with these measures in 2014. For instance, overall, on this scale of 10 political values, the median (middle) Republican is now more conservative than 97% of Democrats, and the median Democrat is more liberal than 95% of Republicans.

By comparison, in 1994 there was substantially more overlap between the two partisan groups than there is today: Just 64% of Republicans were to the right of the median Democrat, while 70% of Democrats were to the left of the median Republican. Put differently, in 1994 23% of Republicans were more liberal than the median Democrat; while 17% of Democrats were more conservative than the median Republican. Today, those numbers are just 1% and 3%, respectively.

AFL-CIO and Trump' s promises

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, center, with Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and Executive VP Tefere Gebre, on stage in St. Louis on Oct. 22. | AFL-CIO

One of several messages organized labor is carrying to workers and voters nationwide is that Donald Trump isn’t keeping his promises.

In an October 22 press conference at the opening of the AFL-CIO convention in St. Louis, federation President Richard Trumka ran down a list of promises the Manhattan mogul-turned-GOP president uttered on the campaign trail last year, from more construction spending to blasting so-called free trade.

“We give them (workers) the facts,” said Trumka of what Trump has promised. “Here’s what he’s promised. Here’s what he’s done. And his promises left people in the lurch.”

Unions are already carrying that message to their members and families, Trumka said, and will continue to do so through the rest of this year and the 2018 election campaign.

“He promised infrastructure. Nothing. He promised to bring manufacturing back. Didn’t happen.”

Instead, what Trump brought factory workers was the “Christmas wish list,” from CEOs of major firms, who were briefly Trumka’s colleagues on a short-lived manufacturing advisory council for Trump, before they all quit over his response to the fatal neo-Nazi riot in Virginia.

The corporate wish list is being granted, in such things as delaying job safety and health rules curbing worker exposure to silica and beryllium, both cancer-causing substances. And their wish list is being granted, Trumka said, also by rolling back the Obama-era increase in eligibility for overtime pay.

“That sobering education gets people to come back across the bridge,” Trumka said of workers who voted for Trump, citing evidence through public opinion polls showing the president, just 10 months in office, has record unpopularity ratings. 61 percent of those questioned, meanwhile, say they support unions.

But whether such an education campaign will succeed is still an open question. Many of Trump’s supporters are die-hards, surveys and questionnaires show, regardless of the facts. And there’s another hurdle, Trumka admitted: rising bitterness against a system that workers feel, rightly, is tilted against them.

Repeating statistics he often cites, Trumka pointed to a survey of millennials by Harvard University. “They’re the first generation that has seen their parents suffer lost homes, pay, and pensions, and who work in a globalized worldwide economy with limited prospects.”

Only 30 percent of those polled believe democracy is important, Trumka said, and 24 percent think it’s bad for them. “They’re beginning to equate democracy and capitalism with poverty, low wages, and insecurity,” he added.

“So we’re talking about changing the rules so everybody gets a chance,” he said, “in an economy that works for workers.”

But the message isn’t a top-down one, Trumka contended. He said it’s a product of “thousands and thousands” of conversations the federation had with its members. “We say: ‘This is your union. What do you need us to do?’”

The answer that came back was to create an economic platform that is so strong that it would make the national right-wing push to enact so-called right to work laws—which labor and workers call “right to work for less” laws—“irrelevant.”

One way is through collective action, Trumka contended. He cited recent mass movements like Fight for $15 and the Women’s March. Workers and unionists made up big chunks of those movements. They were direct sponsors of the Fight for $15, and at the massive women’s demonstrations in January, the AFL-CIO contingent carried signs declaring: “Union woman. Will strike if provoked.”

People “will understand that when we come together, we’ll be stronger,” Trumka said. He drew special attention to the fact that “collectivism is on the rise in the U.S.” He argued, “Whether it’s political action, legislation, or collective bargaining, you’ll see a unity” that did not exist before.

That unity will also be manifest in a political platform Trumka said labor will adopt at the convention and then present to political hopefuls. Those who support it will get workers’ support. Those that don’t, won’t.

The labor movement has been deeply involved in national and local election campaigns throughout its history. Trumka was asked whether this will be the case in 2018 when the entire House is up for re-election along with a third of the Senate. If Democrats tip either the House or the Senate they can block any legislation supported by President Trump, seen as the most anti-labor president in recent U.S. history.

Trumka did not commit to labor’s automatic support for Democrats opposing Republicans. “We are developing and going to put forward a Workers’ Bill of Rights,” he declared, “and our support will only go to people who back that bill of rights. If a candidate, regardless of party, can’t do that, we’ll say, ‘That’s nice, good luck’ and move on to support someone else.”

Trumka said this week many union members who are running for office on all levels are coming forward at the convention. “We are going to push hard to increase the number of workers elected to office,” he said after the press conference.

Also asked afterwards if the federation would reject people who backed perhaps nine out of ten of labor’s issues but not all of the points on the bill of rights, his answer, with a smile, was, “We’ll push them on the tenth.”

Trumka did not elaborate, but said labor’s 2018 election push would be “unprecedented in breadth, scope and unity. We will approach these elections more united than ever before,” concentrating on the issues, he said. In the past, different unions have sometimes supported different candidates.

Trumka attributed the large Republican vote among workers as a whole to anxiety and fear among workers over their stagnating wages and their inability to make gains while Wall Street and the wealthy were doing so well. “Some people,” he said, “were willing to try anything to see if things would get better.” But, he added, “Many who backed Trump are realizing now the huge gap between the promises he made and the reality of his policies.

“Our basic approach is to put forward our workers’ agenda and fight to have people come over to that agenda,” he said, “and that is what we see happening.”

The Beatles Social Media Lessons

50 Years Ago Today—The Beatles Taught Marketers To Play

It was 50 years ago today, the Beatles taught the marketers to play.

Before there was social media or content marketing, the Beatles landed at JFK on February 7, 1964.

Days before The Beatles landed, their song “I Want to Hold Your Hand” reached number 1 on the US charts, the band’s first hit.

A crowd of 5,000 screaming fans waving signs greeted the Beatles at the airport at they descended from their Pan Am flight. They nearly caused a riot. The British Invasion and Beatlemania grew from there.
The Beatles word of mouth back story

While this teen flash mob may have seemed unplanned at the time, it wasn’t.

Nicky Byrne of Seltaeb, The Beatles’ US merchandising organization, made an agreement with radio stations WMCA and WINS to give a dollar and a free Beatles t-shirt to every fan who showed up at JFK.

WMCA’s Murray the K announced the band’s flight details. Other radio stations repeated them amplifying the message.

Additionally, Capitol distributed posters and car stickers throughout New York City, proclaiming ‘The Beatles are coming.” They also answered their phones “Capitol Records—The Beatles are coming.” Talk about word of mouth.
Beatles go viral via the Ed Sullivan Show

The Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964 to an audience of screaming teenage girls. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison played for an estimated 73 million US television viewers, roughly 40% of the US population.

The Beatles went on to play live concerts, create records and movies. All of which were greeted with high levels of fan fervor. In turn, this resulted in more press coverage that fed the fans’ desires for more and more Beatles related content.

[Update 2/10/14: The video of the Beatles’ performance on the Ed Sullivan Show that originally appeared in this post was removed from YouTube and is no longer available. Instead check out this Time magazine video.]
The Beatles Social Media Lessons

What can today’s social media marketers learn from the Beatles? Here are 10 social media lessons from the Fab Four.

1. Do your homework.

You can’t just step onto the social media stage and expect people to love, follow and applaud you. You must perfect your craft, whatever it is. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell refers to this as the 10,000 hour rule.

Between 1960 and 1964, The Beatles did over 1,200 live performances in Hamburg, Germany. If you add in rehearsal time, they easily met the 10,000 hour threshold.

Actionable Marketing Tip: Practice your craft away from the spotlight. When the Beatles played in Hamburg, they were the last name on the list. While they had an audience, they weren’t the focus of attention which gave them the space to develop on their music.
2. Create amazing content.

The Beatles developed a new style of rock and roll. Their lyrics and music were original and evolved with the times. The Beatles had a special sound the way writers have a voice. Far from being a one hit wonder, the band was a music creation machine. They released 26 albums the US. Twenty-seven of their songs were #1 hits in either the US or UK! They are:
Love Me Do
From Me to You
She Loves You
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Can’t Buy Me Love
A Hard Day’s Night
I Feel Fine
Eight Days a Week
Ticket to Ride
Day Tripper
We Can Work It Out
Paperback Writer
Yellow Submarine
Eleanor Rigby
Penny Lane
All You Need Is Love
Hello, Goodbye
Lady Madonna
Hey Jude
Get Back
The Ballad of John and Yoko
Come Together
Let It Be
The Long and Winding Road

Actionable Marketing Tip: Develop quality content that your audience actively seeks out. Like the Beatles, your content has to break through and attract an audience.
3. Use your story.

The Beatles came from humble beginnings in Liverpool. Their story appealed to every boy that wanted to be in a rock and roll band. Beyond that, The Beatles became the archetype for how to create a boy band.
The cute one – Paul McCartney
The brainy one – John Lennon
The quiet one – George Harrison
The funny one – Ringo Starr

Actionable Marketing Tip: Use your corporate stories to connect with your audience. Your audience remembers the stories more than plain facts.
4. Create your brand.

In the beginning, the Beatles didn’t care about their appearance. Their manager Brian Epstein encouraged them to dress more smartly so that they could become more acceptable to bigger platforms. Take note of this critical point. How does your brand look? How is your brand’s look aligned with your audience and your platforms?

The Beatles were known for their haircuts, often referred to as moptops. They were called the Fab Four.

Interestingly their brand extended to their music. By 1963, they had agreed that the 4 band members would contribute vocals to all of their albums.

Actionable Marketing Tip: View your brand from the outside. What do you want your customers to think? Is your appearance aligned with this impression? If not, change it. Also, assess every aspect of your brand across media platforms.
5. Distribute your content widely.

The Beatles moved beyond just sharing their music in small rock venues in Hamburg and Liverpool. They started making records that reached larger audiences via the radio and record store sales. In February 1964, the band went on the Ed Sullivan Show and reached 40% of the US population!

Actionable Marketing Tip: Have a plan for distributing your content to a variety of social media and owned platforms to reach the maximum audience. Don’t leave your distribution to chance.
6. Craft shareable sound bites.

The Beatles took advantage of the press that found them as irresistible as the teen girls. Being witty with British accents got them lots of press or earned media in a period where media meant television, radio, magazines and newspapers. Here’s an example:

Question: In Detroit Michigan, they’re handing out car stickers saying, ‘Stamp Out The Beatles.’

Paul: Yeah well… first of all, we’re bringing out a ‘Stamp Out Detroit’ campaign.

Actionable Marketing Tip: Be entertaining and likable on social media. Where possible use quotable and funny content to help it go viral.
7. Expand media formats.

The Beatles extended their reach to mass audiences at a time when people didn’t own personal media devices (like smartphones) or have social media. The Beatles used live events, records, television, namely the Ed Sullivan show, and movies. They created 5 full-length movies in a span of 5 years!
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Help (1965)
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Yellow Submarine (1968)
Let It Be (1969)

Actionable Marketing Tip: Make sure that your key audience has multiple ways to find and consume your content. Use different formats such as text, images, audio and video.
8. Engage with fans.

The Beatles understood what their fans wanted. They created a monthly fan magazine to fuel the excitement. Additionally they crafted special holiday greetings that were bootlegged, making them even more valuable.

Actionable Marketing Tip: Interact with your best fans and create related content that they want and need. For example, give them interviews and behind the screens information for which they long.
9. Develop line extensions.

To satisfy their fans, the Beatles developed many licensed products that they distributed via a variety of channels. Many bands do this in the form of t-shirts but the Beatles were one of the first bands to produce a variety of different products.

Actionable Marketing Tip: Plan to extend your reach by offering your customers and fans special branded product and content. Don’t just brand product for the sake of branding product. Make sure that it has value for your audience.
10. Evolve with the times.

The Beatles kept pushing their music craft adapting their music and borrowing styles from other musicians and cultures, most notably their trip to India. As a marketer, don’t assume that what works today will work tomorrow.

Actionable Marketing Tip: Continually refresh your social media content to ensure that your brand and content are effective. Further, look at your product offering with an eye to improving it. If you’re not sure about what to do, ask your raving fans.

The Beatles were a one of kind music phenomenon. They changed the way we listen to and think about rock and roll. They did it by creating great products and a related brand that is still one of the most popular in entertainment (and profitable—did I mention that they sold over 600 million units?)

As a marketer, you can learn a lot about social media by perfecting your product offering and building your brand on social media.

What lessons have you learned from the Beatles?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

viernes, 20 de octubre de 2017

Our democracy is at stake,' Obama says on Virginia campaign trail

Stumping for Ralph Northam in the governor's race, the former president rails against 'the politics of fear.'

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a rally for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (left) in Richmond, Va., on Thursday.
Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for governor, finished his own speech, said those words, and the crowd of more than 7,000 erupted. Then U2’s “City of Blinding Lights” from all the way back in the 2008 campaign started playing, and Barack Obama made his return to the campaign trail here Thursday night.

Fresh from New Jersey after making an appearance for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate there, Phil Murphy, his own former ambassador to Germany, Obama uncorked. He argued that this year’s elections are an existential moment that should — if Democrats do what he’s kept telling them to do, without much success — vote — be the start of reasserting an American politics and society that turns away from what’s embodied by President Donald Trump.

“We need you to take this seriously. Our democracy is at stake,” Obama said. “Elections matter. Voting matters. You can’t take anything for granted. You can’t sit this one out. It’s up to you. And if you believe in that better vision not just of our politics, but of our common life, of our democracy, of who we are; if you want that reflected in our government, if you want our kids to see our government and feel good about it, and feel like they’re represented and if you want those values that you are teaching your children reinforced … then you’ve got to go out there.”

As former President George W. Bush did earlier Thursday in a surprisingly forward speech in New York, Obama kept to not mentioning Trump’s name, but left no question who he was talking about.

“Folks don’t feel good right now about what they see. Maybe they don’t feel as if our public life reflects our best,” Obama said. “Instead of our politics reflecting our values, we’ve got politics infecting our communities. Instead of looking for ways to work together and get things done in a practical way, we’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.”

He returned to some of the Obama classics: kicking off with “Are you fired up? Are you ready to go?” and working his way through to “Don’t boo. Vote!” Then, to criticize ads by Northam’s opponent, Ed Gillespie, as misleading, he used a phrase that’s only a favorite to him, calling it “the okey doke.”

And the kicker: “The question now, at a time when our politics just seems so divided, and so angry, and so nasty, is whether we can recapture that spirit, whether we support and embrace somebody who wants to bring people together,” Obama said. “Yes, we can.”

The “Yes, We Can” chants followed, as he must have known they would.

Over 30 minutes in, he was going full force, whipping into a tangent here in the old capital of the Confederacy about being Jefferson Davis’ eighth cousin, once removed — “I’ll bet he’s spinning in his grave,” Obama said — and weighing in on the Confederate monument debate by noting that while Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, he also wrote the Declaration of Independence, of which Obama went on to recite the first lines.

Though he’s appeared at two fundraising events in recent months, Thursday was his first time back campaigning since a rally in Philadelphia the night before last year’s presidential election — an event that ultimately failed to pull Hillary Clinton over the edge in Pennsylvania and beyond.

But to forlorn Democrats who’ve been wondering whether he’d be there for them politically in a post-presidency that so far has been consumed by setting up his foundation, vacationing, writing his book and giving $400,000 paid speeches, his answer was yes — in rip-roaring form, at least for one day.

In New Jersey, Obama railed against “the politics of fear,” complaining that there are people engaging in a sadly archaic form of politics that he said is “folks looking 50 years back.”

SPIEGEL Interview with Sebastian Kurz 'I Definitely Have a Red Line'

Sebastian Kurz, 31, is set to take over the reins in Austria. In an interview with DER SPIEGEL, he speaks of a possible coalition with the right-wing FPÖ, about his hard-line stance on immigration and how age influences politics.

Interview Conducted by Mathieu von Rohr, Markus Feldenkirchen and Walter Mayr

Jork Weismann

Austrian election victor Sebastian Kurz


SPIEGEL: Mr. Kurz, you're 31 years old and poised to become the new Austrian chancellor. Do you sometimes spook yourself?

Kurz: Not in the least. I am aware of the responsibility I am taking on. Things have developed very quickly for me in recent years, but they didn't happen from one day to the next. I have more than six years of experience in government. I took the decision to run as a candidate very seriously. In May, I decided to change the Austrian People's Party and to start a broad-based movement aimed at changing this country for the better.

SPIEGEL: Can you understand that some people are a little spooked to see such a young man in charge of a country?

Kurz: If that's how the Austrian public thought, they wouldn't have voted for me. Austrians have had a while to get a sense of who I am. Other candidates have been on the political stage for a much briefer period than I. Voters probably were much less familiar with some of the candidates in the German elections, who were previously in Brussels.

SPIEGEL: Do you sometimes wish you had more life experience to bring to your new office?

Kurz: We are who we are. You can't become 30 years older just like that. People who are older have the advantage of more experience. But you don't have to despair just because you're young. If young age is the problem, you can take comfort in the fact that it gets better with each passing day.

SPIEGEL: Your appearance has constantly been written about and commented on. Does that annoy you?

Kurz: I can't say I've noticed it. During the election campaign the focus was on lots of other things, on issues, on campaigning style, on "dirty campaigning" and methods we don't want here in Austria. The way the candidates looked really wasn't a focus.

SPIEGEL: Your youthful appearance was brought up time and time again.

Kurz: The issues are what matter. Of course now I then I'll get text messages from people telling me to wear a tie when I'm on TV. But I don't pay any attention.

SPIEGEL: A newspaper in Vienna last week obliquely compared you to Jörg Haider, the controversial far-right Austrian politician who was killed in a car crash in 2008.

Kurz: I've been compared to Haider and also to Viktor Orbán, I've also been described as Merkel's lapdog. None of it applies. But I am aware that people get pigeonholed in politics and in the media. I try to counter it with the ideas I put forward.

SPIEGEL: In the election on October 15, your center-right Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) together attracted 60 percent of the vote - marking the biggest share for parties to the right of center since World War II. How do you explain this slide to the right?

Kurz: The ÖVP and the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) also had combined support of 60 percent. But clearly, the FPÖ increased its support. That would seem to indicate that more voters were drawn to the party's platform. As a big-tent party, we take our momentum from mainstream society. When I assumed leadership of the party in May, we made a decision to launch a broad-based movement. In recent months we've gained 200,000 new supporters - and that in a small country with a population of 9 million.

SPIEGEL: Are you trying to say that the view that there's been a slide to the right is nonsense?

Kurz: I'm not going to cast aspersions on DER SPIEGEL's ideas. But the result of the vote is unambiguous. The People's Party won. Parties other than the Social Democratic Party have only won twice in the last 50 years. We know we picked up a lot of votes from people who previously voted for the Green Alternative.

SPIEGEL: Isn't your agenda further to the right?

Kurz: It's increasingly difficult for hard-working Austrians to build up assets. We pay very high taxes. The difference between gross pay and net income is higher here than in just about any country in the world. The tax and contribution ratio is considerably greater here than in Germany, even though you also have good hospitals and schools. We want to do away with ossified structures and create a lean, service-oriented state. Health sector spending has tripled since 1990 but the quality of service, especially in Vienna, has worsened. We're close to having a two-tier health-care system.

SPIEGEL: Can one person alone seriously remodel a party - a whole country, even?

Kurz: No one can do it by themselves. But throughout my political career, I have never done anything by myself. On the contrary, we have built the most broad-based movement that exists in Austria. And we have the highest number of parliamentarians, all of whom bring with them experience in their various fields, whether that's economics or science.

SPIEGEL: What would you prefer? A coalition with the right-wing populist FPÖ, which wouldn't go down well on the international stage, or a coalition with the center-left SPÖ, which wouldn't go down well in Austria?

Kurz: My goal is to form a stable government that is strong enough to usher in change. A minority government is also an option if we fail to find a coalition partner, but it's not the goal. Many decisions in Austria require a two-thirds majority. That would be possible by getting the Neos (Eds. Note: a liberal citizens' movement) on board, for example.

SPIEGEL: But who would you like to govern with?

Kurz: I will be talking to all the parties. I have to wait and see what they say.

SPIEGEL: Would one alternative to the FPÖ be a coalition with the SPÖ, led by Hans Peter Doskozil, who is currently the defence minister and on the conservative side of his party?

Kurz: Doskozil and I have always worked well together. I respect him.

SPIEGEL: Immigration was one of your main campaign issues. Does your victory show that it's possible to take the wind out of the sails of far-right parties by adopting their platforms?

Kurz: Politicians should do what they believe is right, rather than pursuing strategies they think will win them votes. Since the start of the refugee crisis, I have taken a clear, consistent and, if you'd like, hard line on illegal immigration. If we fail to control immigration in countries like Austria, we risk jeopardizing public order and security. It's not just about people from Syria and Iraq but also the millions of people from Africa who are prepared to come to Europe if they think the door is open.

SPIEGEL: FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache says that nearly 60 percent of Austrians voted for the FPÖ platform in these elections, essentially an accusation that your policy proposals are the same as his.

Kurz: Strache is right when he says that there was some overlap and similarities in some aspects of our platforms. But on other issues we overlap with other parties. That's a good thing. How else would we be able to work together in politics? I'd like to see more overlap on the European level.

SPIEGEL: You have sometimes been compared with French President Emmanuel Macron on account of your age. Yet he was strongly opposed to the Front National, the French equivalent of the FPÖ. You, meanwhile, are considering a coalition with a far-right party. Which strategy is the right one?

Kurz: Macron has the will to change Europe for the better, which, as a citizen of Europe and an Austrian politician, I am very glad about. I will do everything I can to support him and indeed others who are resolved to change and strengthen the EU. As for his attitude to Marine Le Pen, our political systems can't be compared. In Austria, the strongest party has a mandate and has to find coalition partners. For me, there are two possible partners. It's also possible that the SPÖ will seek to stay in power by entering into a coalition with the FPÖ against the winner of the election.

SPIEGEL: Do you see the FPÖ as a completely normal party, even with a leader like Heinz-Christian Strache, a man who even Jörg Haider saw as too aggressive?

Kurz: Parties are different. I've been active in politics since I was 17. My positions and my ideals are clear. But in a democracy, your own opinions aren't the only ones that count. There are five parties represented in the Austrian parliament. They have all been democratically elected and they all have legitimacy.

SPIEGEL: You must have seen the photos of Strache in full battle gear playing war games in the woods. His involvement with the far-right scene goes back a long way. Aren't you worried about appointing someone like that vice-chancellor?

Kurz: I've seen the photos. I think they were taken before I was born.

SPIEGEL: That doesn't change anything.

Kurz: Voters have a right to decide. There is no wrong decision. As a pro-European mainstream party, we clearly won this election. And the parties in second and third place are equally strong.

SPIEGEL: Of course voters can choose who they like. But you don't need to form a coalition with a party that is overtly xenophobic.

Kurz: It's my decision who I form a coalition with. I am aware of the responsibility. I will hold talks and do what I can to form a stable government that's in the best interests of the country.

SPIEGEL: Is there a red line that you wouldn't cross? What would be a deal-breaker, in your view?

Kurz: I definitely have a red line. Not just on the right, but on the left too. But it would be inappropriate to start coalition negotiations via the German newsmagazine DER SPIEGEL. I would ask for your understanding. If you want to form a government and work on behalf of your country then you need to build up a relationship of trust with your partners and find agreement. If you list numerous conditions via the media, you won't be able to do so.

SPIEGEL: In Germany, Jens Spahn, a conservative member of the executive committee of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is one of your biggest supporters. He was even at your election party. Why are you such allies?

Kurz: I was very happy that he attended the election party as a representative of our sister party in Germany. I appreciate that he has a clear position on issues and he states his position unequivocally. Politicians are often not as clear as they'd like to be, for fear of negative repercussions. Foreign ministers, in particular, have to be especially diplomatic. I see him as a visionary. But I am also on good terms with others in the CDU and CSU (Eds. Note: Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to the CDU), including Wolfgang Schäuble and Ursula von der Leyen. And I was very happy that Angela Merkel was the first to call and congratulate me on election night. I am looking forward to working with her.

SPIEGEL: Would you like to see Jens Spahn become German chancellor once Merkel decides to retire?

Kurz: As German chancellor, Angela Merkel is one of the most experienced politicians in Europe and has managed to win four elections in a row. She has an excellent team that includes politicians such as Jens Spahn and others who can still achieve great heights in their lives.

SPIEGEL: Were you in touch with CDU politicians in 2016 when you were preparing to shut down the western Balkan refugee route, to some extent behind Merkel's back?

Kurz: There has always been an exchange between Austria and Germany, even when we have been of different opinions, such as with regard to the immigration question.

SPIEGEL: You are a divisive figure within the CDU. The party's right wing is keen to ally itself with you, with many thinking the party should follow your lead.

Kurz: I have a clear position on the immigration question. But immigration isn't the only issue, and on other issues I agree with others in the CDU. That's the way it is in politics.

SPIEGEL: Angela Merkel and the CDU won the election but lost more than eight percentage points relative to the last election in 2013. How do you explain that?

Kurz: The CDU got 33 percent in this year's election. I got 31.5 percent in ours. For us that's a really good result. If German conservatives need advice, then certainly not from parties that got fewer votes than they did.

SPIEGEL: In your opinion, what was most effective in ending the refugee crisis in 2016 - the closing down of the Balkan route, a move that was driven by you, or the EU's agreement with Turkey, which Merkel backed?

Kurz: Both were effective, both made sense. Whichever measure we employ to put a stop to illegal immigration and provide help in the countries of origin is a good measure. In recent months things have been moving in a good direction on the European level, thank God. Italy has completely changed its policy. But it would be a fatal mistake to think that the immigration question has been resolved and we can put our feet up. The numbers are lower than they have been in recent years, but they're still too high and the pressure driving immigration isn't about to lessen.

SPIEGEL: What would you like to see happen?

Kurz: On a European level we need to fight hard to put a stop to immigration. Frontex needs a completely new mandate, we need to build up a common protection policy for our outer borders which doesn't leave Italy and Greece having to deal with the problem by themselves. We in Austria are prepared to do our bit with police and the military.

SPIEGEL: During the election campaign, you talked about shutting down the Mediterranean route. How would that work?

Kurz: We have to make it clear than anyone who attempts to enter Europe illegally will not be granted asylum here. We should be rescuing people on the EU's outer borders, taking care of them but then sending them back to transit countries or their countries of origin. We should only be taking people in through resettlement programs and boosting assistance in the countries of origin.

SPIEGEL: And how would that work? Would you have the boats stopped and their passengers sent back to Libya?

Kurz: To start with we need to cooperate more with the Libyan coast guard so that people don't even start the journey and the boats can't even launch. Once someone has been picked up, they shouldn't be brought to the Italian mainland. And if it's not possible to take people back where they came from, they should be taken to safe centers where they can be taken care of. But they should not be promised a better life in Europe. If we make that promise, then more and more people will try to come here.

SPIEGEL: At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, what was the German chancellor's biggest mistake?

Kurz: Her mistakes are not the issue here. Many in Europe were pushing for a policy that was wrong - an open borders policy. They thought that anyone who made it to Europe should have the right to apply for asylum here. So increasing numbers of people seized the opportunity. The result was that we were unable to cope, and many people lost their lives in the Mediterranean. I have always rejected this policy and thank God not many politicians have continued to pursue it.

SPIEGEL: Will you join forces with Eastern European countries regarding the immigration question?

Kurz: I am glad of every country in the EU that has the same position on the immigration question as I do. At this point there are many, and we're joined by others every month. We're not going to solve the immigration problem by distributing them throughout Europe.

SPIEGEL: How do you see your role in relations with Hungary and the Czech Republic, countries with which Austria has close ties?

Kurz: Austria could be a sort of bridgehead between Eastern and Western Europe. Economically this has always been very useful and I believe it's our role politically, too.

SPIEGEL: You describe yourself as a staunch pro-European but you're considering a coalition with a euro-skeptic party. What do you hope to achieve when Austria assumes the rotating presidency of the European Council next year?

Kurz: I represent a mainstream party and the voters have given me a mandate as a pro-European agent of change. We would like to make the EU more subsidiary and more collaborative, and to take more of a backseat on issues where nation states can make better decisions.

SPIEGEL: What exactly does that mean?

Kurz: We need closer collaboration on foreign and defense policy. Bigger member states, in particular, aren't always as interested, but we are. We don't need to have a social union, I don't believe in that. How is it supposed to work? Should Austria's social standards fall to Romanian levels? Should Austria's minimum wage of 850 euros a month be introduced in Romania - where it would be well above the average income? We don't always need more rules in Europe. But we should see to it that existing rules are respected, from Maastricht to Dublin.

SPIEGEL: In Brussels, will you oppose Emmanuel Macron's proposed reforms?

Kurz: I like a lot of his ideas. Especially what he says about immigration and security. As far as budget policy is concerned, we're closer to Germany. I agree with Wolfgang Schäuble. There are some issues where I don't agree with France or Germany, and there's nothing wrong with that.

SPIEGEL: What will you do if the SPÖ and the FPÖ form a coalition to keep you out?

Kurz: The Austrian president holds the reins after an election. It is a question that we aren't currently facing.

SPIEGEL: You became foreign minister at the age of 27 and you look set to become chancellor at the age of 31. What will you be doing when you're 45? Do you have other ambitions?

Kurz: I can get enthusiastic about a lot of things and I have enjoyed everything I've done in my life so far. I have always known that I won't spend my whole career in politics. I will be a politician for as long as I feel I have something to contribute. But to be honest, I am not in the least bit worried that there also nice things in life outside of politics.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Kurz, we thank you for this interview.

Financial disclosure shows unusual campaign setup for Pence chief of staff

The vice president’s office described Nick Ayers’ work as perfectly legal. Ayers is pictured with Kellyanne Conway.

Nick Ayers volunteered as a top aide for the Trump-Pence ticket while doing paid work for other candidates.

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff had a lucrative 2016 campaign season even as his high-profile work on the Trump-Pence campaign was classified as unpaid volunteer work.

Nick Ayers, a senior adviser to Pence during the presidential race and now his chief of staff, joined the 2016 team as a volunteer and never took a dime in salary from the Trump-Pence campaign even as he crisscrossed the country with Pence, then the Indiana governor. He served as one of Pence’s top aides and prepared him for critical events, including his debate with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

But Ayers’ Georgia-based political consulting firm, C5 Creative Consulting, did receive a payment of nearly $75,000 on Aug. 25 from Pence’s gubernatorial reelection campaign, 40 days after Pence had been selected as Trump’s running mate and withdrawn from the governor’s race.

In addition to the compensation from Pence’s gubernatorial campaign, Ayers received significant payments from the campaign of Eric Holcomb, Pence’s lieutenant governor, who sought and won the Indiana governorship after Pence joined the national ticket. Holcomb’s campaign paid Ayers’ firm nearly $40,000 between August 2016 and March 2017. Ayers also received payments of more than $30,000 from Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ campaign.

His work for multiple campaigns raises questions whether Pence’s gubernatorial reelection campaign was subsidizing, in part or in full, Ayers’ work for Trump — though the arrangement may have been perfectly legal, experts told MARCA POLITICA. Any payments from different campaigns for Ayers’ work on the Trump-Pence campaign would qualify as an illegal in-kind contribution, but there is no indication that this took place.

“You can see how a person like Ayers, who has a longtime relationship with Pence, would work for the Trump campaign without compensation,” said Brendan Fischer of the nonpartisan watchdog group Campaign Legal Center.

Still, he added, Ayers “would be pretty well extended while working for those three campaigns at once.”

The vice president’s office described Ayers’ work as perfectly legal.

“C5’s contract with the Pence re-elect covered only services and expenses related to the gubernatorial campaign,” Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said in a statement to POLITICO. “Once the Vice President joined the ticket, his legal counsel meticulously closed out contracts and services that were no longer being provided, including C5’s, which occurred within 45 days of the Vice President joining the ticket. C5’s services, including work performed by Ayers, for other campaigns had nothing to do with his relationship or duties to the Trump campaign.”

Experts raised their eyebrows at the setup but acknowledged that, while unusual, such arrangements are legal.

“Is it possible he could have legitimately been doing work for them at the same time? Yeah, it’s possible,” said Brett Kappel, a GOP campaign finance attorney and a partner at Akerman LLP. “You have to know how many hours he was spending on each one.”

If Ayers was being paid to work for the presidential campaign by the gubernatorial operation while volunteering for the Trump-Pence ticket, the money his firm received could constitute a violation of federal campaign finance law, said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at the watchdog group Public Citizen. The law limits the amount of payments, in the form of goods and services, that campaigns and companies can donate.

martes, 17 de octubre de 2017

Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy

But many also endorse nondemocratic alternatives

A deepening anxiety about the future of democracy around the world has spread over the past few years. Emboldened autocrats and rising populists have shaken assumptions about the future trajectory of liberal democracy, both in nations where it has yet to flourish and countries where it seemed strongly entrenched. Scholars have documented a global “democratic recession,” and some now warn that even long-established “consolidated” democracies could lose their commitment to freedom and slip toward more authoritarian politics.

A 38-nation Pew Research Center survey finds there are reasons for calm as well as concern when it comes to democracy’s future. More than half in each of the nations polled consider representative democracy a very or somewhat good way to govern their country. Yet, in all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist, to varying degrees, with openness to nondemocratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader or the military.

A number of factors affect the depth of the public’s commitment to representative democracy over nondemocratic options. People in wealthier nations and in those that have more fully democratic systems tend to be more committed to representative democracy. And in many nations, people with less education, those who are on the ideological right and those who are dissatisfied with the way democracy is currently working in their country are more willing to consider nondemocratic alternatives.

At the same time, majorities in nearly all nations also embrace another form of democracy that places less emphasis on elected representatives. A global median of 66% say direct democracy – in which citizens, rather than elected officials, vote on major issues – would be a good way to govern. This idea is especially popular among Western European populists.

These are among the major findings of a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 41,953 respondents in 38 countries from Feb. 16 to May 8, 2017.

The survey reveals that large numbers in many nations would entertain political systems that are inconsistent with liberal democracy. For instance, when asked about a system in which experts, not elected representatives, make key decisions based on what they think is best for the country, a median of 49% across these 38 countries say this would be a good way to run their nation.

Unconstrained executive power also has its supporters. In 20 countries, a quarter or more of those polled think a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts is a good form of government. This type of regime is particularly popular in several nations where executives have extended or consolidated their power in recent years, such as the Philippines, Russia and Turkey.

While military rule is the least popular political system tested on the survey, even this finds some support across the globe. Notable minorities in many nations consider it a good way to govern, and half or more express this view in Vietnam, Indonesia, India and South Africa.
Shallow commitment to representative democracy

To examine the public’s support of representative democracy over nondemocratic alternatives, we constructed a commitment to representative democracy index. (The index does not include the question about direct democracy.) Respondents are classified as “committed democrats” if they support a system in which elected representatives govern but do not support rule by experts, a strong leader or the military (i.e., nondemocratic governments). Respondents who say a representative democracy is good but also support at least one nondemocratic form of government are classified as “less-committed democrats.” And those who do not support representative democracy and instead support at least one nondemocratic form of government are classified as “non-democrats.”

Roughly a quarter of people (median of 23%) across the 38 countries surveyed are committed democrats. About twice as many (median of 47%) are less-committed democrats. Relatively few (13%) are nondemocratic. A small share (8%) does not endorse any of these forms of governance.

Commitment to representative democracy is strongest in North America and Europe. A median of 37% across the 10 European Union nations polled, as well as 40% in the United States and 44% in Canada, support democracy while rejecting nondemocratic forms of government. Australia is the only country outside of North America and Europe where at least four-in-ten are categorized as committed democrats.

Sweden (52%) shows the strongest level of commitment of all countries surveyed, with roughly half holding this view. By contrast, Russia (7%) has the lowest percentage of committed democrats.

A median of 27% in the Middle East and North Africa are classified as committed to representative democracy. In this region, Israelis (36%) and Jordanians (33%) are most likely to prefer democracy to nondemocratic forms of government. But roughly one-in-five or fewer are committed to representative democracy in Latin America (median of 19%), sub-Saharan Africa (median of 18%) and the Asia-Pacific (median of 15%).
Those in more democratic, wealthier nations are more committed to representative democracy

In general, public commitment to representative democracy is highest in countries that have a well-functioning democracy. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index is one measure of how democratic a country is. The EIU index ranks countries from 0 to 10, where 0 indicates an authoritarian regime and 10 represents a full democracy. The ranking is based on 60 indicators of a country’s performance across five categories: the electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture. The index is closely correlated with our classification of committed democrats. For example, the Netherlands is ranked higher on the EIU index with a score of 8.8, and 47% of the Dutch can be described as committed supporters of representative democracy. Meanwhile, Nigeria has a democracy index score of 4.5 and just 11% of Nigerians meet the committed democrat criteria.

The above scatterplot also reveals another pattern: Countries that are classified as more fully democratic and that have a higher percentage of the public committed to representative democracy also tend to be wealthier. In the scatterplot, the countries are color-coded by their economic ranking from the World Bank, which classifies countries into four income categories based on their per-capita gross national income: high, upper-middle, lower-middle and low income. The group of countries in the upper-right-hand corner of the scatterplot – where the Democracy Index ranking and the percentage of committed democrats are highest – are all upper-income countries.
Even in rich, well-established democracies, nondemocratic models find some support

Although commitment to representative democracy is relatively high in wealthy, strong democracies, notable minorities in these types of countries are open to nondemocratic alternatives.

Rule by experts has considerable appeal in many of these nations, with roughly half or more in Hungary, South Korea, Poland, Spain Japan, Israel and Chile suggesting this could be a good way of running their country.

There is less support for a strong leader who can make decisions without interference from a parliament or courts. Still, about a quarter or more back this idea in Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, Israel, Hungary, South Korea and the U.S. And while military rule is relatively unpopular, 17% endorse this idea in the established democracies of the U.S., Italy and France.
Education, ideology key drivers of support for nondemocratic alternatives

At the individual level, education has a large impact on attitudes about governance. In 22 of the countries surveyed, people with higher levels of education are more likely than those with less education to be classified as committed to representative democracy.1

Among the three types of nondemocratic governments asked about, the education gap is largest on rule by the military. People with less education are more likely than those with more education to say a military government would be a good thing in 23 countries. In 18 of these countries, the gap is at least 10 percentage points. For example, in the U.S., 24% of people with a secondary education or less say rule by the military would be good for their country, compared with 7% of those with more than a secondary education.

There are also significant ideological and partisan divides in many of these countries on the questions about nondemocratic alternatives. Support for a strong, unchecked leader, for example, is significantly more common on the ideological right in Australia, Italy, the UK, the U.S., Canada, Greece and Germany.

The strong leader model also finds backing in Italy among those favorable to Forza Italia, the political party of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – 43% of those with a favorable view of the party endorse this approach to governing. In Britain, it is more popular among those with a positive opinion of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

And in the U.S., a third of Republicans say a strong leader who can govern without interference from other branches of government is a good thing, compared with 20% of independents and 17% of Democrats.
Satisfaction with democracy’s performance is tied to partisanship, the economy

In 26 of the 38 countries surveyed, people who are satisfied with their democracy are more likely to support representative democracy as a form of government. In turn, satisfaction with democracy varies considerably across regions and countries, and even within countries. People’s evaluations of democracy’s functioning differ considerably based on their economic attitudes and partisan orientations.

Overall, a global median of 46% say they are satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country, while 52% are not. Satisfaction is most common in Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa, and least common in Latin America. In Europe, opinions vary widely across nations. More than seven-in-ten are happy with their democracy in Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany. But two-thirds or more are unhappy in Italy, Spain and Greece – all southern European nations that have struggled economically over the past decade.

Views about the economy are strongly related to satisfaction with democracy. In nearly every country, people who say the national economy is currently doing well are more likely than those who say it is doing poorly to be satisfied with the political system. In 29 of 36 countries, the gap in democratic satisfaction between those who are happy with the economy and those who are unhappy is at least 20 percentage points.

The gap is largest in Venezuela – a nation beset by economic difficulties – where 72% of those who think the economy is in good shape are satisfied with how democracy is working, compared with only 14% among Venezuelans who say the economic situation is bad.

European countries also tend to have some of the largest differences on satisfaction with democracy between those who think the economy is doing well and those who do not, including gaps of more than 50 percentage points in Sweden and Hungary.

Satisfaction with the way democracy is working is also tied to how people see the past and the future. In 35 nations, satisfaction is lower among those who think life for people like themselves is worse today than it was 50 years ago. In 34 countries, satisfaction is lower among those who believe children growing up today will be financially worse off than their parents.

In addition, people who support the party in power are much more likely to say they are satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country. For example, overall, 46% in the U.S. are satisfied with how democracy is working. However, fully 68% of Republicans hold this view, compared with just 49% of independents and 31% of Democrats.

Many unhappy with current political system

By Richard Wike, Katie Simmons, Bruce Stokes and Janell Fetterolf

Public attitudes about the political system broadly and the national government specifically vary considerably around the world, though many are critical. Opinions are closely related to the status of the economy and domestic politics. Publics who have experienced high economic growth and are happy with their country’s economy are more confident in their national government. Similarly, people who support the governing party or parties in their country tend to give more positive evaluations of their democracy than those who support either the opposition or no political party at all.
Mixed reviews of the way democracy is working

Publics around the globe are generally unhappy with the functioning of their nations’ political systems. Across the 36 countries asked the question, a global median of 46% say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the way their democracy is working, compared with 52% who are not too or not at all satisfied.

Levels of satisfaction vary considerably by region and within regions. Overall, people in the Asia-Pacific region are the most happy with their democracies. At least half in five of the six Asian nations where this question was asked express satisfaction. Only in South Korea is a majority unhappy (69%). The survey in South Korea was conducted in February and March of this year, amid the corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of then-President Park Geun-hye.

People in sub-Saharan Africa also tend to be more satisfied than others around the world with the performance of their political system. Majorities in Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal and Kenya say their democracy is working well. South Africans and Nigerians, however, are more dissatisfied.

Elsewhere, satisfaction with democracy is considerably lower. In North America, 70% of Canadians say they think their political system is working well, but Americans are divided. Just under half in the U.S. (46%) are happy with their democracy and 51% are unhappy.

While broad majorities in Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany say their political system is functioning well, roughly half of British and Poles say the same. Nearly two-thirds or more in southern Europe are unhappy with their democracies, including 79% in Greece.

Similarly, majorities in most countries surveyed in the Middle East and Latin America express disappointment with how democracy is working in their nation. Mexicans and Lebanese are the most dissatisfied, with at least nine-in-ten in each country who say their current political system is not working well.

In many countries, partisanship has a significant impact on attitudes about the functioning of democracy. People who identify with the current governing party or parties are significantly more satisfied with their political system than those who either support the opposition or identify with no political party (see Appendix for how governing party supporters were coded). For example, in the U.S., 68% of people who identify with the Republican Party say they are satisfied with their democracy, while just 40% of Americans who do not identify with the Republican Party say the same.

The partisan divisions over the functioning of democracy are particularly large in Europe. Of the 10 countries surveyed in the region, six publics exhibit a gap of at least 20 percentage points in democratic satisfaction between those who identify with the governing party or parties and those who do not. Outside of Europe, the partisan divisions on this question are largest in Venezuela (43 points), Israel (39) and Nigeria (38).
Lack of trust in national government

Attitudes about the functioning of democracy are closely tied to publics’ trust in their national government. People who are satisfied with how democracy works in their country also tend to say they trust the national government to do what is right for the country. Given that, the global distribution of trust in national governments is very similar to attitudes about the political system more broadly. People in the Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa regions are more positive about their national government than others around the world, while publics in the Middle East, Latin America and southern Europe are especially negative.

Still, some countries stand out for their lack of trust. A global median of 14% say they trust their national government a lot to do what is right for the country. While this percentage is quite low, 5% or less of the public expresses this level of confidence in their national government in 10 of 37 countries asked the question: Spain, Chile, Peru, France, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Lebanon, Italy and Greece.

As with democratic satisfaction, attitudes about the national government are deeply partisan. In 30 of the 37 countries, people who identify with the governing party express more trust in the government than those who do not identify with the leading party. In 13 countries, the partisan gap is 30 percentage points or more.

Another key political driver of attitudes about the national government in Europe is support for populist parties. In many European countries, where rising populist sentiment has upended traditional political dynamics, people who have favorable views of populist parties are considerably more skeptical of the national government than those who have an unfavorable attitude toward these parties. The difference is largest in Germany: 65% of those who have a positive view of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) say they trust the national government not much or not at all, compared with just 24% of those who have a negative view of the party.

Moreover, most of the difference in trust between populist party supporters and their fellow countrymen comes in saying they trust the government “not at all.” In France, broad majorities of both those who like the National Front (FN) and those who do not say they lack trust in the government (90% and 76%, respectively). But among National Front supporters, 71% say they trust the government not at all, compared with 35% of people who have an unfavorable view of FN.
People in more rapidly growing economies more trusting of government

In addition to politics, the status of the economy is strongly related to people’s trust in their government. Publics that have experienced a higher level of economic growth over the past five years tend to have more confidence in their national government to do the right thing for their country. For example, in India, where the economy has grown on average by 6.9% since 2012, 85% trust their national government. Meanwhile, just 26% of Italians have confidence in their government; their economy has contracted over the past five years (-0.5% average GDP growth).

This pattern appears at the individual level as well. Within each country, people who say the economy is doing well are more likely to trust the national government than those who say the economy is bad. In 29 of the 37 countries asked the question, the trust gap between those who are happy with the economy and those who are unhappy is at least 20 percentage points. As with partisan divisions on this question, European countries tend to have some of the largest differences between those who think the economy is good and those who do not.

Democracy widely supported, little backing for rule by strong leader or military

By Richard Wike, Katie Simmons, Bruce Stokes and Janell Fetterolf

Governance can take many forms: by elected representatives, through direct votes by citizens, by a strong leader, the military or those with particular expertise. Some form of democracy is the public’s preference.

“The effect of [a representative democracy] is … to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country,” wrote James Madison in the Federalist Papers No. 10 in 1787 as Americans debated the nature of their new government. And a democratic system where representatives elected by citizens decide what becomes law is now the mode of governance in one form or another in most of the 38 countries included in the 2017 Pew Research Center survey.

A global median of 78% back government by elected representatives. But the intensity of this support varies significantly between nations. Roughly six-in-ten Ghanaians (62%), 54% of Swedes and 53% of Senegalese and Tanzanians hold the view that representative democracy is very good. Just 8% of Brazilians and 9% of Mexicans agree. The only countries where there is significantly strong opposition to representative democracy are Colombia (24% say it is very bad) and Tunisia (23% very bad).

In many countries, skepticism of representative democracy is tied to negative views about economic conditions. In 19 countries, people who say their national economies are in bad shape are less likely to believe representative democracy is good for the country.

In 23 nations, the belief that representative democracy is good is less common among people who think life is worse today than it was 50 years ago. In Spain, for example, just 63% of those who believe life is worse than before consider representative democracy a good thing for their country, compared with 80% who support representative democracy among those who say life is better than it was a half century ago.

Similarly, pessimism about the next generation is related to negative views about representative democracy. In roughly half the nations surveyed those who think today’s children will be worse off financially than their parents are less likely than others to say representative democracy is a good form of government. Among Mexicans who believe the next generation will be worse off, only 52% say representative democracy is good for the country. Backing for government by elected representatives is at 72% among those who say children will be better off than their parents.

Attitudes toward representative democracy are also associated with opinions about diversity. In more than a third of the nations surveyed those who think that having people of many different backgrounds – such as different ethnic groups, religions and races – makes their country a worse place to live are less likely than others to support government by elected representatives. In South Africa, a country with a troubled history of racial oppression and conflict, 73% of those who embrace diversity describe representative democracy as a good thing for their country; just 54% agree among those who say diversity makes South Africa a worse place to live.
Many publics want a direct say

Direct democracy, a governing system where citizens, not elected officials, vote directly on major national issues, is supported by roughly two-thirds of the public around the world, with little difference in views between regions.

The strongest support for governing through referenda is found in Turkey (84%), where 53% of the public say it would be very good to have citizens vote on major national issues. Lebanon (83%) and Kenya (80%) also show broad support for direct democracy.

There is also strong backing for such governance in Japan (65%) even though the country has not had a referendum in the post-World War II era.

In the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands, people with a high school education or less are more likely than those with more than a high school education to support direct democracy. Such differences are small in the U.S. (6 percentage points) and Germany (8 points) but there is a 17-point differential in the Netherlands (62% of those with less educational attainment back direct democracy, but only 45% of those with more education agree).

In six of seven Latin American nations surveyed, those with a secondary school education or above are more supportive of direct democracy than those with less than a high school education. This educational divide is 16 points in Chile and 14 points in Argentina and Colombia. In each of these countries, those with less education are less likely to hold an opinion of direct democracy.

In Latin America, there is also a generation gap in views of direct democracy. In Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela, those ages 18 to 29 are more supportive than those ages 50 and older of having citizens, not elected officials, vote directly on issues of major national importance.

Notably, in the U.S. it is people ages 30 to 49 who are most likely (73%) to back referenda.

In other countries there are sharp divisions along religious or ethnic lines. In Israel it is Arabs (83%) more than Jews (54%) who favor direct democracy, and in Nigeria it is Muslims (70%) more than Christians (55%).

Supporters of some populist parties in Europe are particularly enthusiastic about direct democracy. In Spain, 88% of those who hold a favorable view of Podemos say citizens voting on national issues would be good for the country. In Germany, 84% of AfD backers agree, as do 77% of PVV supporters in the Netherlands.

Support for direct democracy can also be seen in other recent Pew Research Center findings in Europe. In the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, a median of just 18% in nine continental EU member states say they want their country to exit the EU. But 53% support holding a national vote on their own country’s EU membership.

And such support is particularly strong among backers of Euroskeptic populist parties, many of whom have promised their supporters a referendum on EU membership. (For more on European’s attitudes about staying in the EU, see Post-Brexit, Europeans More Favorable Toward EU.)

And in six of the nine continental European nations surveyed, strong majorities of those who believe that direct democracy is a very good form of governance support their own EU membership referendum.
Technocracy has its champions

The value of expert opinion has been questioned in the eyes of the public in recent years. But when asked whether a governing system in which experts, not elected officials, make decisions would be a good or bad approach, publics around the world are divided: 49% say that would be a good idea, 46% think it would be a bad thing.

Europeans (a median of 43%) and Americans (40%) are the least supportive. But among Europeans, roughly two-thirds of Hungarians (68%) say leaving decision-making to experts would be a good way to govern.

Asian-Pacific publics generally back rule by experts, particularly people in Vietnam (67%), India (65%) and the Philippines (62%). Only Australians are notably wary: 57% say it would be a bad way to govern, and only 41% support governance by experts.

More than half of Africans surveyed also say governing by experts would be a good thing for their country. Nigerians (65%) are especially supportive. And it is Nigerian Muslims more than Christians who say this.

Young people in a number of advanced economies are particularly attracted to technocracy. In the U.S. the age gap is 10 percentage points – 46% of those ages 18 to 29 but only 36% of those ages 50 and older say it would be good if experts, not elected officials, made decisions. The young-old differential is even greater in Australia (19 points), Japan (18 points), the UK (14 points), Sweden (13 points) and Canada (13 points).
Some support for rule by strong leader

Rule by a strong leader is generally unpopular, though minorities of a substantial size back it. A global median of 26% say a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way of governing. Roughly seven-in-ten (71%) say it would be a bad type of governance.

Opposition is particularly widespread in Europe (a median of 86% oppose rule by a strong leader), with strong opposition in Germany (93%), Sweden (90%) and the Netherlands (89%).

But autocracy is not universally opposed. Roughly four-in-ten Italians (43%) who have a favorable view of Forza Italia, the political party founded by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and a similar share of the British (42%) who favor UKIP say a strong leader making decisions would be good for their country. Nearly half of Russians (48%) back governance by a strong leader.

In Asia, 55% of Indians, 52% of Indonesians and 50% of Filipinos favor autocracy. Such support is particularly intense in India, where 27% very strongly back a strong leader.

Public views of rule by a strong leader are relevant in countries that have experienced degrees of authoritarianism in recent years. Roughly eight-in-ten Venezuelans (81%) and 71% of Hungarians oppose a strong leader who makes decisions without interference of parliament or the courts.

Rule by a strong leader also appeals to older members of the public in some countries. More than a quarter of Hungarians (29%) and South Koreans (34%) ages 50 and older favor governance by a strong leader.

In advanced economies there is little overall backing for autocracy. But, where such support does exist, it is often people with a secondary education or below who are more likely than those with more education to favor autocratic rule. This educational divide is particularly wide in the UK (19 percentage points), the U.S. (15 points), Poland and South Korea (both 13 points).

In a number of nations there is a significant division of opinion about strong leaders based on ideology. Those who place themselves on the right of the ideological spectrum are more likely than those who place themselves on the left to say a strong leader making decisions would be a good way of governing. The ideological gap is 20 percentage points in South Korea and Australia and 16 points in Italy and the UK. Notably, in Venezuela, which has been ruled by populist, left-wing strongmen, those on the left are more supportive of autocratic rule than those on the right.
Significant minorities support military rule

There is minority support for a governing system in which the military rules the country: a median of 24% in the 38 nations surveyed. At least four-in-ten Africans (46%) and Asians (41%) see value in a government run by the generals and admirals.

The strongest backing is in Vietnam (70%), where the army has long played a pivotal role in governance in close collaboration with the Communist Party, especially in the 1960s and 70s during the war with the United States. Some of this may be nostalgia for the past: By two-to-one (46% to 23%) Vietnamese ages 50 and older are more likely than those ages 18 to 29 to say military rule would be very good for their country.

Notably, roughly half of both Indians (53%) and South Africans (52%), who live in nations that often hold themselves up as democratic exemplars for their regions, say military rule would be a good thing for their countries. But in these societies, older people (those ages 50 and older) are the least supportive of the army running the country, and they are the ones who either personally experienced the struggle to establish democratic rule or are the immediate descendants of those democratic pioneers. In South Africa, blacks (55%) more than whites (38%) also favor the military making governance decisions.

Only one-in-ten Europeans back military rule. But some on the populist right of the political spectrum voice such support. Nearly a third of those who hold a favorable view of the National Front in France (31%) say a governing system in which the military rules the country would be a good thing, as do nearly a quarter of those who favor UKIP in the United Kingdom (23%).

Support for a governing system in which the military rules the country enjoys backing among people with less education in at least half the countries surveyed, with some of the strongest support among those with less than a secondary education in Africa and Latin America.

More than half of Peruvians with less than a high school education (55%) prefer military rule. Only about a third (32%) of more educated Peruvians agree.

Particularly strong backing for military rule also exists among the less educated in Vietnam (76%), Nigeria (57%), Kenya (49%) and the Philippines (47%).

Notably, one-in-five of those ages 50 and older in the U.S. support military rule, as do roughly one-in-four Japanese (24%) ages 18 to 29.

Ideology also plays a role in public views of military rule. But it can cut both ways. In some countries, people on the right of the political spectrum are significantly more supportive of military governance than those on the left, especially in Chile. In Hungary and Venezuela, on the other hand, it is more likely to be individuals on the left who see value in military rule.