Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Discontent with Politics Common in Many Emerging and Developing Nations

Widespread Belief That Wealthy Have Too Much Influence

Political Dissatisfaction High in Middle East and Latin America

Political Dissatisfaction

In every country surveyed, people who describe the current economic situation as bad are especially likely to express dissatisfaction with their political system. Differences are particularly stark in Venezuela, where 71% of those who rate the economy negatively are unhappy with the political system, compared with 17% of those who say the economy is doing well. People who believe inequality is a very big problem are also more likely to express disappointment in their political system in 12 of the 31 countries polled.

High-Income People Have Too Much Political Power

Most Believe Well-Off Have Too Much Power
Publics in Latin America, Africa Most Likely to Say Wealthy Are Too Powerful

In 29 of 34 countries, more than half say too much political influence rests in the hands of society’s wealthiest people. This is especially true in Latin America, where a median of 74% say those with higher incomes have too much influence. Colombians, Peruvians and Brazilians are among the most ardent believers – about eight-in-ten in each country say that the rich have too much sway. Venezuela, which is still led by an acolyte of Hugo Chavez, is the only country in the region where less than half (44%) say the wealthy have too much influence. Those on the ideological right in Venezuela are somewhat more likely to believe that the well-off should have more political sway.

Sub-Saharan Africans (a median of 68%), Middle Easterners (61%) and Asians (57%) also report that those in the upper echelons of society have too much political influence. There are only two countries in the survey where fewer than four-in-ten believe the wealthy wield too much power – China (38%) and Vietnam (37%), two nations still ruled by officially Communist parties. Roughly a quarter in both countries believe the rich should have more influence on their political system than they currently do.

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