As citizens around the world continue to grapple with the global pandemic and the changes it has brought to their daily lives, many are also expressing a desire for political change. Of the 17 advanced economies surveyed by the Pew Research Center, an average of 56% believe their political systems are in need of major changes or in need of complete reform. Roughly two-thirds or more hold this view in Italy, Spain, the United States, South Korea, Greece, France, Belgium and Japan.
But while many want change, many are also skeptical about their prospects. In eight out of 17 respondents, about half or more of those surveyed say the political system needs major changes or major overhauls, but they have little or no confidence that the system can be effectively changed.
Many of the people interviewed also have a strong desire for economic reform. In Italy, Spain and Greece - three countries where economic sentiment has been darkened for more than a decade - at least eight in ten people surveyed think their economies need major changes or overhaul. Approximately three quarters of people in South Korea and two thirds in the United States and France share this opinion.
Questions about political, economic and health care reform reveal highly pessimistic public sentiments in the advanced economies surveyed. However, there are six countries - the United States, Italy, Spain, Greece, France and Japan - where discontent with the status quo is particularly strong. Here, more than half want major changes or complete reform of the political, economic and health systems.
Satisfaction with how democracy works is also the lowest in these countries. Less than half of the adults in Greece, Italy, Spain, Japan, the United States and France are satisfied with the functioning of democracy in their country.
In comparison, in the United Kingdom, 61% of respondents are pessimistic about the financial prospects of the next generation and believe that their country needs serious political reform, while 34% are optimistic that the next generation will live better financially than their parents.