Direct democracy is defined as a democratic system where citizens, not elected officials, vote on major national issues to decide what becomes law. Some hail it as the purest form of democracy. Others are wary because some issues are highly complex and require a minimum of expertise to make a sound decision. Some critics argue people can be moody and swayed by demagogues to vote for the wrong thing.
The Brexit referendum in Britain is one example where many observers argue that people casted their votes ill-informed and manipulated by populist campaigns. Others see it as a vote pushed by a gut feeling of resentment, with voters not so much concerned with the matter at hand but rather wanting to throw a spanner in the works of a system they feel doesn’t profit them anymore.
As our infographic shows, the British are comparatively wary of direct democracy, compared to, for example, the Germans. In Sweden, often lauded for her ingrained democratic tradition, just a little more people than in Britain think of direct democracy as a good or very good system. However, in all countries depicted more than half of the citizens think this system is at least somewhat good, according to data from Pew Research Center.