Detailview

Three questions for ... Flooh Perlot

24.09.2020

With the Democracy Radar, Flooh Perlot and his team at the Austrian Democracy Lab analyse the attitudes of the Austrian population towards questions of democracy. The researchers survey about 9,000 people per year, e.g. on their trust in politics. The first data set of the Democracy Radar is now available at AUSSDA.

What is the study about?

The Democracy Radar by the Austrian Democracy Lab aims at mapping attitudes towards democracy in Austria over a longer period of time, with regular surveys. The aim is to create a differentiated picture that follows a broad understanding of the term democracy and deals with different perspectives on the topic. Likewise, (lacking) changes are to be observed over time. In addition, the Democracy Radar deals with changing focal themes that are broadly diversified - from trust in politics to the EU to federalism in Austria.

 

What do you think is the most exciting aspect of the study? Were there any surprising results?

For example, it is interesting to see how the apparently unambiguous term democracy is viewed. The population clearly distinguishes between the basic system of democracy and the political "everyday democracy" in Austria. In addition, there are different approaches, such as stronger preferences for direct or representative democracy, and a varying degree of self-confidence in being able to participate in politics.

Another important question is how to explain attitudes towards democracy, i.e. which factors (can) influence whether people see democracy positively or doubt it. We know from other studies that people's economic situation sometimes has a strong influence on how they perceive politics and the democratic process, and how much they feel involved. In simple terms, if someone is not doing so well economically, this not only has negative consequences for their wallet, but also for their feeling of being perceived and taken seriously by politicians.

 

Why did you decide to make the data freely accessible?

Fortunately, it is becoming more and more common for research data to be made available for widely free use. We profit from this in our work and we are happy to join in here. Apart from the possibility for other researchers to work with the data, the exchange and the scientific interest of verifiability, there is also a growing pool of empirical data to compare personal perceptions of politics in Austria - which makes orientation easier, especially in turbulent times.

 

  • Flooh Perlot works as a research assistant at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz, where he is primarily responsible for data collection and analysis for the Democracy Radar. He studied political science, contemporary history and media studies at the University of Innsbruck and then worked at the Universities of Klagenfurt and Krems, and since 2008 at the Institute for Strategy Analysis (ISA) in Vienna. His work focuses on politics and media, internet and democracy, election research and data visualisation.
Flooh Perlot (Photo: Austrian Democracy Lab)