Democracy Around the World

AP Government and Politics

In a Pew survey of 38 countries* (see list below), of the following ways of governing a country, which is the most popular: Representative Democracy, Direct Democracy, Rule by Experts, Rule by a Strong Leader, Rule by the Military?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is most surprising in this data?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is one political consequence of this data?

  6. Is this good news?

  7. If we had the data from 1937 (80 years ago, and on the eve of WWII) how do you imagine that data would compare to today's?

  8. How different do you think this data is going to be in 10 years?

  9. What percent of statistics are made up on the spot?

  10. Which of those five types of government would you say is more like the current government of the United States?

  11. Imagine the earth was under attack by Martians (I know they don't exist, bear with me). Explain whether you think that would make earth-people more or less democratic.

  12. American Democrats and Republicans don't always see eye to eye. However, if the typical American Democrat and the typical American Republican took this survey, how much do you believe their answers would differ?

  13. Explain the circumstance in which you believe that democracy is not the best form of government:

  14. Since the rule of POTUS Trump, would you say the US has become more or less democratic (with a small d)?

  15. This data is taken from citizens from different countries, of which some are democratic (Japan), somewhat democratic (Turkey) and non-democratic (Russia). How would the data differ if you only surveyed citizens of democratic countries?**

  16. How would the data differ if you only surveyed citizens of non-democratic countries?**

  17. How would the data differ if you only surveyed American citizens?

  18. How do you think education level impacts the survey data?**

  19. How do you imagine political ideology (left v right) impacts the survey data?**

  20. Explain whether you think that most people living in a non-democratic country are yearning to be free (in other words, do they secretly want to live in a democratic country)?

  21. Are you having a nice day?

  22. If you were in charge, would you allow every single person in the world who wanted to live in a democratic country to move to America?

  23. Imagine a democratic country elected non-experts (I know, it's hard to imagine!!!!) who ran their government very poorly, and then let's imagine a second country that was undemocratic, but ruled by experts who ran a very efficient and good government. Explain which of the two countries you would prefer to live in:

  24. Rank the 38 countries* from the chart below from most to least democratic. Which three would be at the top of the list (most democratic), which three would be at the bottom of the list, and where exactly would the U.S. under our current POTUS rank?

  25. You know, you should thank your teacher for giving you this cool class starter right now. They could be giving you a quiz or a test or a 5 paragraph essay or something like that but instead they are giving you this awesome information. So hey, why don't ya show them some love!

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew report on the state of democracy.

Action Extension

Think about one thing you could do to make your country more democratic and one thing you could do to make your country less democratic. Share your answer in class or online. And don't forget to thank your teacher!

The 38 Countries*

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Bonus Charts!!!!**

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Happy?

What is the happiest country in the world?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the takeaway message of this chart?

  3. What surprised you about this chart?

  4. How different do you think this chart will be in 100 years?

  5. Do you think that these kinds of rankings matter?

  6. Of all the things that could be ranked, what would you want your country to be best at?

  7. Are there any patterns in the sorts of countries that ranked among the happiest?

  8. Are there any kinds of countries that are absent from the top of the rankings?

  9. How did your country do on this chart and why do you think that is?

  10. The US came in as the 15th happiest country. In the comments section below, speculate on why we ranked 15th.


Action Extension

Interview 10 people and ask them to speculate on how the US ranks in the World Happiness Report. Show them the actual rankings and ask them to share their reaction with you and on social media.


Learning Extension

Read more about the 2015 World Happiness Report


By the way, the least "happy" — countries include Togo, Burundi, Syria, Benin and Rwanda.

Patriotic States

AP US Government and Politics

What is the most patriotic state in America?

AP US Government and Politics

Here’s the latest interactive map version of the most patriotic states.

Source: WalletHub
  1. How wrong was your prediction?

  2. What most surprises you about the map?

  3. Are you surprised by your state's patriotism ranking?

  4. Describe any interesting geographical trends you see in the map.

  5. Explain one of the map's interesting trends:

  6. How does patriotism differ from nationalism?

  7. How patriotic are you?

  8. What's the best thing about being patriotic?

  9. How do you think demographics such as and party affiliation impact levels of patriotism?*

  10. If we measured our entire nation's level of patriotism what color would it be?

  11. Do you think it's ironic that the most patriotic state was the one that seceded from the union to start the civil war?

  12. How patriotic do you think the United States is relative to other countries in the world?*

  13. Who do you think is the most patriotic person in America?

  14. Explain whether you think President Trump is patriotic.

  15. What do you think is the most patriotic animal?**

  16. In the comments section, write what a person from the most patriotic state would say to a person from the least patriotic state about why they should be patriotic?

  17. Bonus Question: what is the one state that could pass the citizenship test?

Not Patriotic Very Patriotic

Visual Extension*

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Statistic: Would you consider yourself very patriotic? | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista
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Learning Extension

Read this Pew Research Center report on American Patriotism in 2017.

Action Extension

Draw a patriotism meter. Ask twenty five people how patriotic they are, put the average on your meter, & post your meter up in a public place.

Patriotic Animal Extension**

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Pugtriotic

AP US Government and Politics

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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The Ultimate Student Test Prep. Prepare for the AP® US Government and Politics Exam from home! Download your own DIGITAL TEST REVIEW BOOK - RIGHT NOW! Tons of great review material for all 5 units! FRQ workshops with practice questions for all 4 FRQs. 50 BRAND NEW AP® exam-ready multiple choice questions with test key. Get Your Review On!

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Approval Ratings

AP U.S. Government and Politics

Every Day is Presidents Day in GoPo

What president has had the highest approval rating since 1946?

Driven By Data    AP US Government and Politics

Driven By Data

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this chart tell?

  3. What do you think causes presidential approval ratings to generally decline over a presidential term?

  4. Which president had the steepest decline of approval ratings?

  5. Which president had the biggest increase in their approval ratings?

  6. Describe Trump’s approval ratings in comparrison with the other presidents from the chart.

  7. How have rally points impacted recent presidential approval ratings?

  8. Think about how history will impact the future public’s opinion of all the presidents listed in the chart. In other words, 50 years from now, how will we regard these presidents? (That, is will we like each president more or less in the future???)

  9. How do you imagine that falling approval ratings affect the ability of presidents to govern?

  10. How do presidential approval ratings impact midterm elections?

  11. How do presidential approval ratings impact presidential elections?

  12. If you were to add POTUS Trump since his first year in office to this chart what would his approval numbers look like?

  13. What does this chart tell us about the American public?

  14. Describe the economic factors that impact presidential approval ratings.*

  15. What does the chart tell us about political polarization?

  16. They didn’t exactly have polling back then, but what do you imagine George Washington’s approval ratings would have been?

  17. What about Lincoln (think hard)?

  18. Write one question you have about this information:

  19. How do you celebrate Presidents' Day?

  20. In Federalist No. 70, Alexander Freaking Hamilton argues for a strong executive leader, as provided for by the Constitution, as opposed to the weak executive under the Articles of Confederation. He asserts, “energy in the executive is the leading character in the definition of good government. What do you think Hamilton would think about approval ratings and their impact on presidential power?

  21. Explain why Trump’s approval ratings do NOT deviate that much over time. What impact do his static ratings numbers have on American politics.

  22. In the comments section way below, if you were elected president, what would be one thing you could do to immediately improve your approval rating, and what is one thing you could do to make your approval ratings immediately tank?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Check out these Presidential Approval Ratings charts and story from the Pew Research Center. Or follow the daily interactive Trump approval ratings tracker from FiveThirtyEight.

Action Extension

Go to this interactive Wall Street Journal presidential approval ratings chart. Scroll through each president to see their approval ratings, and the inflection points where their approval went up or down. What generally causes approval ratings to fall and what usually causes approval ratings to go up? Contact POTUS Trump with one piece of advice about improving his approval ratings.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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Our Test Prep in Downloading Extension

HIGH FIVE - STUDENT TEST PREP - DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

The Ultimate Student Test Prep. Prepare for the AP® US Government and Politics Exam from home! Download your own DIGITAL TEST REVIEW BOOK - RIGHT NOW! Tons of great review material for all 5 units! FRQ workshops with practice questions for all 4 FRQs. 50 BRAND NEW AP® exam-ready multiple choice questions with test key. Get Your Review On!

Ranking our Rights

AP US Government and Politics

Of the following rights, which do Americans think is the least important: freedom of speech, the right to vote, the right to privacy, freedom of religion, the right to own guns?

AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this data tell?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What most surprised you about this information?

  5. What is one consequence of Americans' enduring love of freedom of speech?

  6. The right to own guns is relatively unessential Americans' sense of freedom. How do you think that impacts the recent national debate about gun reform?

  7. According to this poll, which Constitutional Amendments are deemed as essential?

  8. WHat other Amendments (not listed above) would you personally describe as indispensable to your sense of freedom?

  9. How would you personally rank these five freedoms on a scale of most to least essential to your freedom?

  10. Explain how differently you think the average American Republican and Democrat would rank these five freedoms:

  11. If you were an autocratic government, determined to take away citizens' rights (think Putin) explain which of those five rights would you first take away.* This is hypothetical - don't actually do this!!!!!

  12. What's wrong with Americans that we no longer consider our Third Amendment Freedom from having to quarter soldiers as essential to our freedom????

  13. That Third Amendment right, which seemed essential in 1787 is more or less obsolete today. The Framers also were concerned about an overreaching national government and thus protected the right of states to form militias (2nd Amendment). Do you think that this idea is equally obsolete?

  14. Imagine Americans wanted to abolish the 2nd and 3rd Amendment (we've abolished amendments before) What steps could Americans take to do this?

Learning Extension

Read the Pew research Report on The Five Freedoms.

Action Extension

Share the following ranking with any ten people. Share the results in class or online.

Create your own user feedback survey

AP Pugament and Pugatics

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Drag Extension

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No Love for the Gov

AP US Government and Politics

GoPo Pro

Of the major U.S. institutions such as the U.S. Congress, the Presidency, Colleges and Universities, the News Media, Large Corporations, Banks, and Religious institutions, which is the least trusted by Americans?

Pew Research Center

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this information?

  3. What is the big story this data tells?

  4. Why do you think the U.S. has such low levels of trust in the U.S. Congress?

  5. What is a consequence of this distrust?

  6. How do you think this data might affect young people considering what career to embark upon?

  7. Explain whether, overall, the data from the chart is good news or bad:

  8. If Americans were asked to evaluate the Supreme Court and Judiciary's impact on the direction of the country, how would they be judged?

  9. Explain how you think the Trump administration will be ranked in terms of their impact on the direction of the country:

  10. Why do you think small businesses are so well regarded?

  11. Why do you think that 28% of Americans have a negative view of colleges and Universities?

  12. Can you believe that 38% of all statistic are made up on the spot?!

  13. How would you personally evaluate each of the institutions in the chart above?

  14. How different do you think this data would have been 50 years ago?

  15. How do you think partisanship (Democrats versus Republicans) would most affect opinions of the institutions from this list*?

  16. The survey above was taken before the 2016 presidential campaign. Explain how you think these numbers have changed because of the election:

  17. What are three steps the U.S. government could take to regain Americans' trust?

  18. What major U.S. institution do you think would fare even worse than the U.S. Congress?

  19. What role do you think the media plays in creating these perceptions of these institutions?

  20. Think about how the media depicts the U.S. government in fictional television shows and movies. What movie or film best encapsulates the prevailing attitudes from this chart? Share your answer in the comments section below:


Learning Extension

Read the Pew Research Center's report on American attitudes towards institutions then check out this cool interactive graph of U.S. trust in the government over time.


Action Extension

Contact President Trump and share one idea you have of how he could increase Americans' opinion of the office of the presidency:

Visual Extension*

Our World in Data Extension

Our Animals in Drag Extension

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Lov Gov

AP U.S. Government and Politics

What federal government agency or department is viewed most favorably by the U.S. public?

Pew Research Center    AP U.S. Government and Politics

Pew Research Center

AP U.S. Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story the data tell about American opinion on the federal government?

  3. Why do you think Americans have those views?

  4. What is one consequence of Americans having such favorable opinions of these departments and agencies?

  5. Is this good news?

  6. Are you surprised?

  7. Why do you think the Post Office won the most favorable rating of any agency or department?

  8. Which of the agencies and departments listed above do you have daily contact with?

  9. How would you answer the same questionnaire?

  10. What do you think would be the agency or department that the public views least favorably?

  11. What are three things Congress can do to control these agencies and departments?

  12. What can are three things the POTUS can do to control these agencies and departments?

  13. Why do you think that 42% of people have an unfavorable opinion of the department of education?

  14. How different do you think Democrats and Republicans view these agencies and departments?*

  15. Democrats and Republicans have exactly the same opinion of the Federal Reserve, yet they have very different opinions of the FBI. Why do you think that is?

  16. Do you think that most Americans even know what the Federal Reserve does?

  17. Do you even know what the Federal Reserve does?

  18. If you asked most Americans if they trust the government, only 18% say, yes. However, these same Americans have a very favorable view of much of the actual government. How do you explain this dissonance?

  19. Do you think the Trump administration is having an impact on Americans' views of the federal government?

  20. How different were Americans' views of these same agencies in 2013* (See below) compared to now?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

This cool new Pew report on American attitudes towards the government is about to be made into a movie by Disney. Check it out now!!!!!

Action Extension

Next time you have contact with the federal government (it could be your mail carrier bringing you mail or an F.B.I. agent arresting you) thank them for their work for the federal government and ask them what people's attitudes are towards them. Share your thoughts about this interaction in class or online. Or, ask ten of your schoolmates their attitudes towards these agencies and departments and compare those results with the views expressed in the data.

T-Rextension

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Our World In Data Extension

Animal in Clothes Extension

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Least Distrusted Branch of Government

AP US Government and Politics

What is the most trusted branch of the United States government?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What least surprised you about this data?

  3. As of 2017, what is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Over time, what is the big trend you see in this chart?

  5. Why do you think the judiciary is the most trusted branch of government?

  6. Why do you think the legislative branch is even less trusted than the executive branch?

  7. How do you think the behavior of the trump administration will impact the level of public trust in the executive branch over the next few years?

  8. Overall, is this information good news?

  9. How do you think party affiliation impacts trust in the judiciary?*

  10. How do you think party affiliation impacts trust in the executive branch?*

  11. If you ran a business that only about 1/3 of your customers trusted, how long would you stay in business?

  12. If we didn't have separation of powers and checks and balances do you think the American people would trust the government more or less?

  13. we currently have a divided government. How do you think the prevalence of divided government impacts the public's trust in the U.S. government?

  14. What is the most important consequence of our current level of trust in the US government?

  15. What do you imagine levels of trust would be like in a totalitarian country like North Korea?

  16. Let me remind you that although only about 1/3 of Americans trust the legislative branch, they tend to reelect the legislature at about a 90% rate. Explain this paradox:

  17. The most trusted branch is the one we do NOT vote for. What does that say about democracy and the power of voting?

  18. Does that make you think that if we abandoned voting we would have a government we trust?

  19. Is it possible that it is a good thing that we do not tend to trust our government?

  20. What would Thomas Jefferson think about the lack of trust in the U.S. government?

  21. Explain whether you think people trust their state and local governments more than they trust their federal government:

  22. How do you think the fact that we are a multi-ethnic nation impacts our level of trust in the government?

  23. Did you know that 27% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

  24. In the comments section, propose one change in the U.S. government to increase public trust in the government:

Learning Extension

Read the complete results of the Gallup Poll before it's too late!

Action Extension

Contact the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUSofA). Congratulate them on being the most trusted branch. Mail them a certificate of achievement. You can't email them!!!! Really! But you can call or write. Here's their contact information.

Supreme Court of the United States.
1 First Street, NE.
Washington, DC 20543.
Telephone: 202-479-3000.

Bonus Charts*

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Extra-Super-Bonus Chart-o-Rama for no good reason!**

our world in data extension

Purple Country

GoPo Pro

Are there currently more solidly Democratic or solidly Republican states in the United States?

GoPo Pro

GoPo Pro

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising was the data from the table?

  3. What has happened to the number of solidly Democratic states over the past few years?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. Based on the table, how has the number of solidly Republican (red) states changed over the past decade?

  6. How many competitive (purple) states are there?

  7. If the number of competitive states increases what will probably happen to elections to the U.S. Senate?

  8. Why is that?

  9. Explain whether the growth of competitive states will have the same impact On U.S. House elections?

  10. List three Government policies that are probably different in states that are very red versus states that are very blue?

  11. Why is that?

  12. Describe the redness/blueness/purpleness of your state, district, and neighborhood.

  13. If you were to move to a state with a party affiliation most like yours, where would you move?

  14. In the past, neighborhoods and cities were full of both Republicans and Democrats. Demographers tell us that we are becoming more likely to live in communities of similar party affiliation. How will this impact the data in the table and how will that influence American politics?

  15. Explain how the number of competitive states impacts presidential elections?

  16. What is the most Democratic state in America?*

  17. What is the most Republican state?*

  18. What geographical patterns in party affiliation do you think are reflected in a map of this data?

  19. Explain whether the data from the table is good news.

  20. What impact do you think the policies of the current Republican POTUS, House and Senate will have on the number of solidly Republican states in 2020?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Read the Gallup report on states and party affiliation.

Action Extension

Find out about the political party affiliation of U.S. Senators and see if they roughly match the data from the table. Contact any Senators who do not reflect their state's political party affiliation and ask them to move to another state or resign from the Senate.

Our world in data Extension

Pro Tip: Don’t smoke!