Issue 22
Monday, 05 December 2016
Charles Darwin University
Political science lecturer Dr Andrew Klassen
Political science lecturer Dr Andrew Klassen

US ‘shows dissatisfaction with democracy’

By Katie Weiss

A Charles Darwin University political scientist says United States citizens’ satisfaction with the democratic electoral system has dropped significantly in the past 10 years. 

Dr Andrew Klassen, of the School of Creative Arts and Humanities, said public opinion surveys showed a downward trend in the number of citizens satisfied with the system, from about 80 per cent in 2006 to 52 per cent in 2014.

Dr Klassen said he suspected that soon-to-be-released data from this year’s US election would continue to reflect this downward trend.

He said problems in the electoral system, including campaign financing practices, widespread gerrymandering and the electoral college voting, could explain the growing dissatisfaction.

“The US is the only developed economy with an electoral college and presidential primary system, which creates a lot of issues that could undermine perceived electoral fairness,” he said.

Dr Klassen said the high level of dissatisfaction among US citizens could indicate a need for electoral reforms.

He made the observations while working to create the comprehensive “Public Opinions and Perceptions” research tool, which encompasses almost 7.5 million individual surveys across 157 countries.