A Comparative Analysis of Gender and Public Opinion on Democracy in Poland, Romania, and the United States, 1995-2020

Sandra L. Hanson, Michelle Kelso, Steven A. Tuch


Research on attitudes toward democracy in Poland and Romania is timely given 2019’s three-decade anniversary of freedom from communism in Central and Eastern Europe. The U.S. makes an interesting comparison case given its history involving the American Dream and the Dream’s essential component of democracy. Using the World Values Surveys and a conceptual framework linking gender and democracy attitudes, we examine beliefs about democracy in Poland, Romania, and the U.S. between 1990 and 2020. Findings show significant cross-country, cross-time, and cross-gender variation on most of the belief measures and, contrary to much previous research, Americans do not always provide the strongest support for democracy. We conclude that simple assumptions about American exceptionalism on democracy attitudes are often inaccurate, as are assumptions that women are universally more positive about democracy than men. Consensus on democracy related attitudes in Romania and Poland is also not supported by our results, suggesting that unique historical, political, and socio-economic experiences among formerly communist nations play an important role in shaping beliefs about democracy.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v12i1.6581


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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