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People around the world see politicians as unsympathetic to common people and unable to effect change when elected, with more than half feeling dissatisfied with the state of democracy in their country, according to a survey of 27 nations by Pew Research Center.

Expand chart
Adapted from a Pew Research chart; Percentages are medians based on 27 countries; Data: Spring 2018 Global Attitudes Survey; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: Similar sentiments have driven a global surge in populism that led to the election of Donald Trump and events like Brexit over the past few years. While responses by nation vary, people are generally more optimistic about the state of free speech, economic opportunity and public safety in their nations than they are about their politicians and elections.

Between the lines: People who said their politicians were corrupt or out of touch were consistently more likely to say they were dissatisfied with the state of democracy in their nation, according to Pew.

By the numbers:

  • Indonesia and the Philippines had the highest share of respondents out of the 27 nations surveyed who said that politicians care what ordinary people think.
  • Greeks and Israelis were some of the least likely to see politicians as caring about common people.
  • 89% of Greeks and 82% of Russians said that most politicians were corrupt in their nations, compared to less than a quarter of people from Sweden, the Netherlands and Indonesia.
  • Mexicans were the least satisfied with how democracy was working, while Filipinos and Swedes were the most satisfied.

In the U.S., more than half say that most politicians are corrupt, don't care what common people think, and that not much changes after an election. 58% say they are dissatisfied with the way democracy is working.

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