9 out of 10 citizens say democracy is better than any other political regime
The research project 'Conceptions of democracy in the Basque Country', carried out by the Arantzazulab social innovation laboratory, aims to find out the different perceptions, beliefs and opinions that exist about democracy in the society of the Basque Country region in Spain.
How is democracy understood? What conceptions are there of democracy? In order to answer these questions, three different methods have been combined: theoretical work to explore the current central debates, qualitative research into the conceptions of the different agents of the democratic system, and a questionnaire study on the conception of democracy in the citizenry.
Observing the results obtained, we can highlight that the vast majority of Basques, 88.7%, believe that democracy is still better than any other type of government. However, when asked about their degree of satisfaction with the way democracy works, more than a third say they are not very or not at all satisfied with it (37.2%). In contrast, 56.9% say they are fairly satisfied and only 5.9% say they are very satisfied.
As to which model of participation seemed most democratic to them, 58.6% said that the most effective is to elect by vote the representatives who act on our behalf to solve problems. However, it is worth noting that as many as 34.4% of respondents prefer other forms of governance such as self-organisation, civic draw or assembly voting.
When asked about the perception of citizens' influence on politics, subjective political efficacy is very low: 64.1% believe that the political system allows individual citizens very little or none at all to influence politics. In other words, two out of three citizens consider that the average citizen does not have the possibility to influence the political system. Furthermore, when asked to what extent they would say that politicians care about what citizens think, 66.7% think that they care very little or not at all.
The respondents belonged to a representative sample of the population of the Basque Country of 2,173 people (1,022 in Bizkaia, 661 in Gipuzkoa and 490 in Araba) over the age of 18, taking into account factors such as age, gender, employment status and size of municipality, among others. The surveys were carried out between 22 February and 24 March 2023.