Do European voters cling to democracy under all circumstances?

Filip Milačić on EUROPP • 17.1.2023

European citizens appear to strongly favour democracy, but how resilient are these attitudes? Drawing on new survey evidence, Filip Milačić illustrates that partisan and group loyalties can often override democratic ideals, resulting in voters overlooking actions by politicians that undermine democracy.

Why in many countries around the world do citizens, who favour democracy, vote for political actors who subvert it? This question has been puzzling many scholars. Against this background, FES Democracy published a study drawing on an experimental survey of people in seven European countries: Estonia, Germany, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine. Our research paints a clear picture of how democratically elected politicians get away with ‘autocratising’ their country.