Youth Attitudes on Politics and Democracy in Poland

27 October 2020 | Members' Corner

A results of the new study “Youth in Central Europe 2020: Poland” conducted by Institute of Public Affairs (IPA, Poland) in cooperation with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in July 2020 are available online. This research covers the topic of young people (16-29) opinion on the state of democratic governance, the priorities influencing their voting behavior, youth public participation and their sources of information, as well as the government institutions and political parties responsiveness to citizens. It also focuses on how young people evaluate the actions taken to counter the Covid-19 pandemic

Already the corresponding public opinion research conducted by IPA and NDI in 2018 revealed a lack of political engagement among young people in Central Europe (see the report that covers also Hungary and Slovakia). Youth in the region neither believe that political institutions adequately represent their priorities nor that these institutions effectively include their voices. As a result, they have expressed a diminished interest in sustained political participation. This political disillusionment has also yielded decreased support for liberal-democratic institutions among some young voters.

COVID19 and vision of future

The current study results show that the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 further complicated political environment in the country. The highly consequential nature of the crisis affects the priorities, outlook, and political satisfaction of young people. In the same time, some previously observed trends have deepened, as has happened with the rejection of traditional media and a constantly increasing frequency of acquiring information on public life from social media, especially Facebook, web portal and YouTube channels.

Although the study shows several negative trends, also some positives for the future can be taken out of it. Thus, even though we often forget that the Internet has become a natural part of young people everyday life, It is hard not to notice this fact. Presented research shows that internet is also a place where youth engage politically and look for information about public life. However, this does not mean that they become more susceptible to manipulation.

When looking for information on the COVID-19 pandemic, young people show more confidence in traditional media and the role of electronic media decreases. They also reject cultural wars conducted by many politicians and consider the most serious problems in Poland to be rising prices and costs of living, health care, natural environment and the threat of unemployment. See more results in an online presentation available HERE and data for other Visegrad countries are published by the NDI!

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