United States more of a threat to democracy than Russia, China - global poll

US President Joe Biden, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping.
US President Joe Biden, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping. Photo credit: Getty Images

A new global poll has revealed the United States is seen as more of a threat to democracy than any other country, including Russia and China.

The Alliance of Democracies Foundation recently released their Democracy Perception Index 2021 survey which was completed by 53,000 respondents in 53 countries.

The poll, which was conducted between February 24th and April 14th 2021, asked respondents if they agreed/disagreed with the statement: "Democracy in my country is threatened by the influence of the US / Russia / China".

It found out of the 53 countries involved, 46 think the US is a bigger threat than Russia, and 36 countries think the US is a bigger threat than either China or Russia.

Nearly half (44 percent) of people surveyed around the world are concerned that the US threatens democracy in their country. 

The countries that are overwhelmingly negative about the US's influence are Russia and China followed by European democracies including Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

Chinese influence was viewed as a threat by 38 percent of respondents and fear of Russian influence was lowest at 28 percent.

The biggest issue seen as a threat to global democracy is inequality, although in the US, the power of big tech companies is also seen as a challenge.

The survey also reviewed what respondents thought about their country's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and found satisfaction around the world had sharply dropped year on year from 70 percent globally to 58 percent.

The most satisfied with their country's response were people in Vietnam (96 percent), followed by China (93 percent), Taiwan (86 percent), Saudi Arabia (86 percent) and Singapore (87 percent).

The least satisfied countries were Brazil (19 percent), Peru, Poland and France (27 percent), and Italy (28 percent).

Overall, people in Asia are most satisfied with their country's response.

Chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation Anders Fogh Rasmussen told The Guardian the poll shows democracy is "still alive" in people's minds around the world.

"We now need to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering more democracy and freedom to people who want to see their countries become more democratic.

"The positive support for an Alliance of Democracies, whether the UK's D10 initiative or President Biden's Summit for Democracy, shows that people want more cooperation to push back against the autocrats. Leaders should take note of these perceptions and act upon them."

The poll comes ahead of the Copenhagen Democracy Summit in May.