Press Releases

2014 Lowy Institute Poll confirms Australian’s ambivalence about democracy

4 June 2014

The tenth annual Lowy Institute Poll, released today, finds that only 60% of Australians, and just 42% of young Australians 18-29 years of age, believe that ‘democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’.

When asked to choose between ‘a good democracy and a strong economy’, only a slight majority of Australians - 53% - choose a ‘good democracy’. When asked their reasons for not preferring democracy, the strongest responses are that ‘democracy is not working because there is no real difference between the policies of the major parties’, and that ‘democracy only serves the interests of a few and not the majority’.

‘For the third year in a row, the Poll reveals the high number of Australians, particularly young Australians, who are ambivalent about democracy. However, our new results dispel the notion that apathy is the main reason for this ambivalence. Neither is the attraction of another, more authoritarian type of system the main driver of their disenchantment’, said Alex Oliver, Director of Polling.

The full report will be available on the Lowy Institute website on Wednesday 4 June at 12.01 a.m., together with the updated 2014 Lowy Institute Poll Interactive – a data visualisation tool exploring key results from 10 years of Lowy Institute polling.

The 2014 Lowy Institute Poll is based on a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,000 Australian adults between 12 and 27 February 2014. An additional 150 adults aged 18-29 years of age were also surveyed on questions about democracy, threats to Australia’s vital interests, climate change and feelings towards other countries. The Poll’s error margin on the 1000 sample is approximately +/- 3.1%.