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Democracy Threat Index

Threat Score: 32 September 22, 2017 Significant Violations
What do the Threat Scores mean?
0 – 12.5 Healthy Democracy Within the range of a normally functioning consolidated democracy
12.5 – 37.5 Significant Violations Violations atypical of a consolidated democracy, but that don't yet threaten breakdown
37.5 – 62.5 Substantial Erosion Violations that signal significant erosion of democratic quality and warn of high potential for breakdown in future
62.5 – 87.5 Near-Term Survival Threatened Critical violations that seriously threaten near-term survival
87.5 – 100 Non-Democracy Violations severe enough to make system non-democratic

We’ve partnered with the independent experts at Authoritarian Warning Survey (@AuthWarning) to evaluate the current level of threat to American democracy. The score from 0 (no threat) to 100 (total democratic breakdown) compiles ratings from democracy experts across the country and political spectrum on six key metrics that are related to our priority work areas.

  • Media 36
  • Executive Constraints 35
  • Elections 31
  • Civil Violence 24
  • Civil Liberties 23
  • Rhetoric 48
0 – 12.5 Healthy Democracy Within the range of a normally functioning consolidated democracy
12.5 – 37.5 Significant Violations Violations atypical of a consolidated democracy, but that don't yet threaten breakdown
37.5 – 62.5 Substantial Erosion Violations that signal significant erosion of democratic quality and warn of high potential for breakdown in future
62.5 – 87.5 Near-Term Survival Threatened Critical violations that seriously threaten near-term survival
87.5 – 100 Non-Democracy Violations severe enough to make system non-democratic

See how the threat to our democracy is changing over time and how the U.S. stacks up to other countries.*

White line - USA

Scoring the Index

Tracking and Calculating the Scores

The index is based on a daily-updated survey of democracy experts run by Authoritarian Warning Survey. A random sub-sample of these experts is polled each day on six sub-components that have represented warning signs in past cases of democratic erosion (Treatment of media, Executive constraints, Elections and treatment of opposition, Civil violence, Civil liberties, and Rhetoric). The Democracy Threat Index averages these responses from the past 60 days, with greater weight given to more recent responses. We also test for discrete breaks in this average that may be caused by major events. If an event is detected, we give even greater weight to post-event responses, as determined by the data.

For greater detail on the survey methodology, see here and follow @AuthWarning.

*Note: Survey results for non-U.S. countries reflect a static snapshot of the situation in June 2017, as viewed by local experts, for comparison purposes only. While the threat scores assess warning signs in each of the varying countries, an equivalent score does not necessarily mean experts see the same likelihood of complete democratic breakdown. For example, despite similar threat scores, experts saw a significantly higher chance of breakdown in Poland than in the U.S. For more information about these comparisons, click here.

About the Index

The Democracy Index survey and analysis is conducted by the independent experts at Authoritarian Warning Survey with the support of Protect Democracy.