Pew poll asks about citizen assemblies, finds widespread support

A Pew Research poll conducted in November and December 2020 asked people in France, the U.S., the U.K. and Germany about their attitudes toward the political systems in their countries. As usual, there was a lot of dissatisfaction. It turns out for example that in France and the U.S. about 20% of those polled think that the political system in their country “needs to be completely reformed”.

Interestingly, the poll had a question about “citizen assemblies”.

In all four countries, there is considerable interest in political reforms that would potentially allow ordinary citizens to have more power over policymaking. Citizen assemblies, or forums where citizens chosen at random debate issues of national importance and make recommendations about what should be done, are overwhelmingly popular. Around three-quarters or more in each country say it is very or somewhat important for the national government to create citizen assemblies. About four-in-ten say it’s very important.

Surprisingly, in my opinion, support for such advisory bodies is somewhat higher in all countries than support for binding referenda.

(Thanks Paul Gölz.)

2 Responses

  1. In my opinion, the most sobering conclusion is to be found in the following table:

    https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2021/03/31/many-in-us-western-europe-say-their-political-system-needs-major-reform/pg_2021-03-31_political-grievances_0-22/

    Less than half of those who want major changes or a completely reformed political system consider citizen assemblies “very important”. What this is telling us en creux (I don’t know how to translate that in English) is that more than half of them see purely consultative assemblies for what they are: little more than window dressing for The Powers That Be.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It would certainly be interesting to ask those who wish to see the system “completely reformed” what it is that they are thinking about. A citizen assembly should be set up for coming up with proposals. Even an advisory assembly could play a useful role on this matter.

    Liked by 1 person

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