Bringing the Public’s Voice into Debates about the Future of Politics
By Richard Wike
Unhappy with the way their political systems are functioning, angry at the elites who have failed to address a mounting set of challenges, and frustrated with elected representatives they feel ignored by, citizens in many nations around the world have challenged to political status quo, catapulting new parties and leaders into power in many nations. The political tumult witnessed over the past few years has highlighted a significant gap between citizens and political elites. Policymakers and international institutions like the G20 will need to address this gap if they are going to develop solutions to global challenges that are perceived as credible and legitimate by publics around the world. In order to do so, a greater understanding of what average citizens think about these challenges is needed. Social science researchers may be able to contribute to this understanding through studying public opinion about key issues on the global agenda. This paper will examine surveys by Pew Research Center and other organizations that highlight the discontent so prevalent in many nations, as well as ways surveys can help give average citizens a voice in important international debates. Surveys can help give average citizens a voice in important international debates.