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Survey evidence on Aus democratic resilience

N. Biddle & M. Gray, Survey evidence on Australia’s democratic resilience, ANU Centre for Social Research & Methods, June 2024


There is a growing concern that democracies and democratic norms are under severe strain and threat. This paper uses Australian survey data to explore the concepts of ‘democratic recession’ and ‘democratic resilience’, framing the discussion around the quality and applicability of survey data in assessing public sentiment and democratic health. A key aspect of the paper is an assessment of the quality of the various Australian data sources which are assessed using the Total Survey Error (TSE) Framework. This framework is useful for identifying the full range of factors that may contribute to “errors” in survey data.

Specifically, the paper provides:

  • an introduction to some of the issues relevant to democratic resilience, including concerns expressed about declines internationally in democratic structures and institutions (or lack thereof).
  • Some issues related to the applicability of this international discussion to the Australian context.
  • A discussion of the importance of assessing the quality of survey data using the TSE approach.
  • An overview of trends in the views of Australians about democracy and government and recent Australian data on democratic resilience.
  • Concluding comments on the state of democratic resilience in Australia, and our ability to measure it.




See also: Survey evidence on Australia’s democratic resilience