The expanding use of direct democracy in many established democracies reflects a desire to provide citizens with more opportunities to be involved in the political process. These changes are assumed to be embraced by those who demand greater citizen involvement, though the underlining motivation remains unclear. One theory assumes that support is likely to come from citizens who have a deep interest in politics and are politically active. Another theory offers a contrasting view, claiming that those who find themselves on the periphery of politics, and are largely disenchanted, find such proposals attractive. We examine these theories drawing on public opinion surveys from six established democracies. We find that younger citizens and those who are more interested in the political process are more supportive of direct democracy, while political disaffection has a less consistent impact.
- direct democracy
- Public opinion