Comparative Politics

Humanity’s Attitudes About Democracy and Political Leaders: Patterns and Trends

Christopher J. Anderson London School of Economics and Political Science
Damien Bol King's College London
Aurelia Ananda King's College London


For decades, researchers have examined people’s beliefs across countries and time using national samples of citizens. In an era when geographic boundaries have become less powerful markers of differences across people and nation-states may no longer be the only relevant units of analysis for understanding politics, we seek to develop tools and insights that transcend national and regional boundaries. What do humans think about democracy and political leaders? How much do they disagree, and have their preferences changed over time? Existing research designs cannot answer these questions with precision because of uneven sampling of countries, regions, and years. Starting with the world as the unit of analysis and humans as the relevant population, we develop a new way to gauge public opinion on a global scale. Using surveys collected since 1994, we measure and then explore patterns and trends in human preferences for democratic government and political leaders.


Thumbnail image of world_public_opinion_wp.pdf


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