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Poles see US as bigger threat to democracy than China, poll suggests

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Warsaw, Poland – In Poland, the United States is seen as a bigger threat to democracy than China, a new global study suggests.

The United States, a shining beacon of democracy in the world? Not quite, according to the latest results from the Democracy Perception Index 2021.

US influence seen as bigger threat to democracy than China and Russia worldwide

One of the most startling findings of the world-wide study suggest that nearly half (44%) of respondents in the 53 countries surveyed perceive US influence as a threat to democracy in their respective country. Both China (38%) and Russia (28%) are seen as a lesser threat to democracy worldwide.

Countries where the US is most seen as a threat to democracy are Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea and India.

% who agree that the influence of the US / China / Russia threatens democracy in their country. Source: Democracy perception Index 2021

Out of the 53 countries surveyed, the US is seen as a bigger threat to democracy than China in 42 of them. Only five countries (Ukraine, Iran, Poland, Venezuela and Hungary) consider Russian influence as a greater threat than the US.

Poles more concerned about US influence compared to China

Out of the world’s three major powers, Poles unsurprisingly perceive Russia as the biggest threat to democracy.

More unexpected, however, is the fact that the US comes second, with Poles perceiving Washington’s influence on democracy more negatively than China’s (see graph below).

It is nevertheless important to note that the share of Poles worried about US influence (around 35%) is one of the lowest among surveyed countries.

% who agree that the influence of the US (red), China (green), Russia (yellow) threatens democracy in their country. Source: Democracy perception Index 2021

US perceived more negatively in Poland after Biden’s election

Perception of the US’s global influence has improved in nearly all surveyed countries following Joe Biden’s election, increasing dramatically in countries like Germany and China.

Only eight countries have a more negative opinion of the United States’ influence in 2021 than they had last year: the US itself, Russia, Israel, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, Norway and… Poland.

Previous studies had shown that Poland was the European country where former President Donald Trump was viewed the most favourably.

The study was commissioned by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, and based on a survey conducted by the Latana polling company between February and April, among 50,000 respondents in more than 50 countries.

Top 5 countries most threatened by the US / China / Russia. Source: Democracy Perception Index 2021