Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Adam Forrest

Britons have same level of trust in political system as Russians, survey shows


The UK is on a par with Russia for confidence in its political system, according to a global survey which puts ranks Britain in the bottom half of countries.

Just one in six (17 per cent) of British voters say they are highly satisfied with how the political system is functioning, with double this proportion (32 per cent) saying they are dissatisfied.

The analysis of 23 countries, by the Policy Institute at King’s College London (KCL), was carried out as part of the World Values Survey – one of the largest and most widely used academic social surveys in the world.

The data was collected during 2022 – a tumultuous year which saw Tory PM Boris Johnson booted out by his own party, before Liz Truss’s disastrous premiership lasted only six weeks.

Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the KCL Policy Institute, said: “Support for the idea of democracy is extremely high and rising in the UK – but we are much less convinced by how it is working for us right now.

“The vast majority say that democracy is a good idea and important, but only 17 per cent of us are highly satisfied with how our political system is currently functioning, putting us in the bottom half of international league tables.”

The UK ranks among the lowest of the countries analysed for trust in the political system and is similar to satisfaction levels in Russia (16 per cent), Mexico (17 per cent) and Nigeria (15 per cent).

It sits far behind the likes of Norway (41 per cent), Canada (36 per cent) and Germany (36 per cent) – though it does come higher than France (13 per cent), the US (12 per cent)

Northern Ireland is by far the least satisfied part of the UK, with just 8 per cent saying they are highly satisfied with politics and 56 per cent dissatisfied, as the impasse at Stormont over DUP opposition to post-Brexit trading arrangements rumbles on.

However, Britons’ support for democracy has risen over the past two decades, with those thinking it is a very or fairly good way of governing the country at 90 per cent in 2022 - from 76 per cent in 1999.

“There is no evidence here that people in the UK are tired of the principle of democracy and are becoming more open to authoritarian models of government,” said Prof Duffy.

“It is true that millennials seemed less enthusiastic about democracy when they first came into adulthood, but they have now come much more into line with older generations.”

It follows global survey results which found British public has more confidence in the EU than the UK parliament.

Confidence in the Westminster parliament has plummeted 10 points to just 22 per cent since the Brexit referendum, while confidence in Brussels has shot up seven points to 39 per cent.

Prof Duffy said: “Our confidence in the EU has also bounced back post-Brexit, and now we’re much more likely to have confidence in it than our own parliament and government.”

KCL said 3,056 adults were interviewed across the UK for the latest survey.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.