Youth Attitudes on Politics and Democracy in Central Europe

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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Between June and July 2020, NDI conducted four public opinion polls of young people in cooperation with research partners based in each of the Visegrad countries. The questionnaire engaged young people on their attitudes toward relevant national issues; the priorities influencing their voting intentions; and the responsiveness of government institutions and political parties to young citizen’s priorities. NDI research found: 

  • Less than one-third of young people from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland express satisfaction with the political situation in their countries. Slovak youth are the most satisfied with the political situation in their country. 

  • The majority of young people express that they are interested in politics and public affairs and that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their level of interest.

  • The majority of young people agree that democracy is the best possible system of government only when it can deliver economic security for people. 

Public opinion research conducted by NDI in 2018  revealed a lack of political engagement among young people in Central Europe. The research found that youth in the region neither believe that political institutions adequately represent their priorities nor that these institutions effectively include their voices. The outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 further complicated political environments throughout Central Europe. NDI’s research shows the following shifts in young people’s priorities, outlook, and political satisfaction: 

  • The satisfaction of young Poles with the political situation in their country has sharply decreased, from the majority expressing satisfaction in 2018, to less than one-third.  In contrast, satisfaction with the political situation in Slovakia has risen from 32% to 50%. 

  • Poland is the only Visegrad country where young people’s interest in politics and public affairs has decreased since 2018. 

  • The priority issues for young people differ across the region. In Poland and Slovakia young people express greater concern about unemployment and democratic decline than they did in 2018. In Hungary, young people believe that each national issue, including health care, cost of living, corruption, are less serious problems than they were in 2018.  

The quantitative polls engaged up to 1,000 respondents in each country using Computer-Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI) methodology. 


The full research presentation can be downloaded below.


This project is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy 


Visegrad Insight Podcast - No Involvement in Politics for the Young

The Visegrad Insight podcast speaks with Zuzana Papazoski, Resident Director for the National Democratic Institute in Central Europe, concerning young people’s attitudes towards the political environment and democratic institutions. In this conversation, Papazoski discusses the findings of NDI's Youth Attitudes on Politics and Democracy in Central Europe public research, conducted in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia between June and July 2020.




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Jerry Hartz

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Author: NDI Central and Eastern Europe
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