Voter trade-offs in polarized societies: How politicians get away with autocratizing their countries

Our new study on identity, polarization and partisanship in 7 European countries is out!

Polarization has been linked to the trend of autocratization or democratic backsliding, often through politicians who gradually undermine tenets of liberal democracy in societies that appear increasingly polarized. In theory, a democratically minded public would behave as a watchdog and vote such politicians out of office, yet many continue to enjoy popular support, even in countries where the population places a high value on democracy. How can we explain this puzzle? Are democratically minded voters gambling away democracy over polarizing issues?

This study investigates under which circumstances voters forgive or even reward political candidates for violating democratic norms through a representative survey of seven European countries.

Check out our key findings, conclusions, and lots of graphs here: 

Identity, partisanship, polarization

Identity, partisanship, polarization

How democratically elected politicians get away with autocratizing their country
Vienna, 2022

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