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Support for democracy is waning across the Americas

Elizabeth J. Zechmeister and Noam Lupu consider the results of the most recent AmericasBarometer survey in The Conversation, which indicates that people are losing faith in democracy across the Western Hemisphere. Support for democracy has declined nearly 10 per cent since 2004, and a growing number of people view their elections and elected officials as untrustworthy. This cynicism correlates with declining support for democracy, as "the more cynical people are about the integrity of their elections and elected representatives, the less likely they are to support democracy." This sentiment is made worse by repeated corruption scandals, scandals related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and increasingly contentious elections. However, freedom of expression remains a priority throughout the region-- the authors identify that it is not that people are less interested in voicing their opinion, but that people do not think that their elected representatives are listening when they exercise that right. This dynamic contributes to the increasing trend of people turning towards strong man leaders and being open to extreme measures such as closing legislatures. The authors contend that restoring confidence in electoral integrity and the integrity of our representative institutions is essential to restoring faith in and support for democracy.

Read the full piece here in The Conversation.