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Pew Report Highlights Surge in Support for Strong Leader Governance, India Among Nations Seeing Significant Uptick

As elections loom in various nations, a recent Pew Research Center survey underscores a notable trend: a growing appeal for strong leader governance, challenging the traditional framework of representative democracy. Released on February 28, the survey reveals that support for authoritarian leadership has surged in several countries since 2017, with India among those witnessing a significant uptick.

While representative democracy remains widely favored, with 77 percent across 24 democratic countries labeling it as “good,” dissatisfaction with its functioning within their own countries is evident, with a median of 59 percent expressing discontent.

The survey coincides with a pivotal year for democracies globally, with elections scheduled in over 50 nations, including India’s Lok Sabha elections and the US presidential election in November.

India stands out with the highest level of endorsement for a strong leader model, with 67 percent of respondents viewing it favorably, marking a notable increase of 12 percent since 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys a commendable 79 percent favorability rating, ranking third globally.

Across Europe, individuals supporting right-wing populist parties exhibit a greater inclination toward authoritarianism. In Germany, for instance, 37 percent of those favoring the Alternative for Germany party express support for non-democratic governance.

Support for authoritarian leadership tends to be more pronounced among individuals with lower education and income levels, as well as those leaning ideologically rightward. Notably, poorer nations show higher support for autocratic regimes, including military rule.

Mexico stands out with a remarkable 23 percent surge in support for a strong leader since 2017, alongside increased support for democracy. The United States, despite its status as the wealthiest nation, exhibits noteworthy backing for autocratic systems, with 15 percent endorsing military rule and 26 percent favoring a strong leader model.

Overall, while support for authoritarianism has increased in several countries, military rule remains the least favored form of government globally, with only a median of 15 percent expressing support across surveyed nations.

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