In this top group, citizens have a high interest in and level of knowledge about policy issues, with high rates of voter turnout.
Consumption of political information through newspapers is very high in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, while two new free French-language newspapers in Luxembourg, popular with young adults, promise to improve political awareness. Norway’s voter turnout is comparatively low in the context of this group.
Iceland’s population is well-versed on domestic issues, though less so on international matters, and showed quick adaptation to changed circumstances after the economic collapse. Australia’s population is better informed on socioeconomic than on less regularly debated issues, while political interest has declined somewhat from a high level in New Zealand.
In this group, political cynicism or disaffection among citizens is common, with significant portions of the populace paying relatively little attention to politics. Voter turnout generally remains good, however.
Levels of political knowledge are rated at average, with citizens spending considerable time reading political news, in Belgium and the Netherlands. Germans rate their own political knowledge as high.
Most Austrians claim a lack of interest in domestic political news, while overall political knowledge is low in Turkey. Italy’s citizens are familiar with major policy issues, but knowledge is typically shallow. A lack of education hampers political understanding for many Chileans.
Belgium and Turkey both combine comparatively low knowledge scores with high voter turnout, while Ireland shows the reverse pattern, with demoralized voters. Voter turnout has risen appreciably in the Netherlands.
Countries in this group are split, showing either a moderate to high level of knowledge but low voter turnout, or low knowledge levels paired with higher participation rates.
In Japan, Finland and the UK, consumption of newspapers and political TV programming is reasonably high, though comparatively few Finns report a strong interest in politics and voter turnout scores have fallen. US political knowledge is notoriously weak, but polarization and crisis has led to greater citizen awareness of political issues.
Interest in politics is comparatively low in Spain and Greece, but both countries have moderately strong participation rates. Voter turnout rates in the UK are low, with the USA, Finland and Japan only marginally better.
Voter participation rates are quite low throughout this group, although citizens in several countries show moderately strong familiarity with public policy issues.
Populations in Switzerland, Canada and South Korea all demonstrate interest in and familiarity with politics that is moderate to high in comparative (but not necessarily absolute) terms. South Korea displays the OECD’s lowest turnout rates.
A prolonged electoral struggle in the Czech Republic rendered most citizens familiar with basic issues, but more detailed knowledge is comparatively uncommon. A relatively shallow base of political knowledge in Hungary is exacerbated by a deeply polarized media. Corruption has disillusioned many Slovakia voters.
Political interest has long been declining in France, with policy increasingly presented in simplified populist or ideological terms. Participation rates have fallen substantially relative to the SGI 2009 in Slovakia and South Korea, but have risen appreciably in Poland and Mexico.