Kristina Puzarina, Jana Pötzschke, Hans Rattinger
Attitudes Towards Human Rights and Democracy: Empirical Evidence in Europe and the United States

Transworld Working Paper; 30
Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)
ISSN: 2281-5252

This paper provides a comparative analysis of mass and elite orientations towards human rights and democracy promotion in the United States, the European Union, and Turkey. In particular, it focuses on importance, general attitudes, relevant actors as well as policies and instruments within this political area. Survey data from 2000 to 2012 show that people on both sides of the Atlantic share similar views on what constitutes a good democracy. They equally highlight the value of its electoral institutions, social welfare and prospering economy, while uniformly denouncing the importance of civic military control and religious interpretation of the legislature. Contrarily, the role of the main stakeholder seems to be a somewhat conflicting arena for the transatlantic community. In the US, more people trust national governments rather than the UN to decide on human rights. At the same time Europeans see both the EU and the UN as playing an important role in assisting other nations. When it comes to democracy promotion, both Europeans and Americans highly approve election monitoring, initiatives for civil society development and, to certain degree, economic and political sanctions. Whereas military involvement stands out as the least supported initiative for these publics.