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SPP 408

Author: Professor Richard Rose
Description: In Communist regimes, the party-state used fear to make subjects say what the party wanted in public, whatever they thought privately. The 2004/5 round of the New Europe Barometer (NEB) survey in 13 post-Communist countries therefore collected an indicator of whether respondents remain afraid to say what they think: overall 51 percent indicated some fear, 45 percent did not and 4 percent replied don’t know. Five hypotheses are tested about why some people are afraid to voice opinions while others are not: the failure of all of them to account for differences implies a random distribution of fear. The paper then considers whether fearful people differ in their answers to political questions about partisanship and approval of the political system net of socio-economic characteristics and attitudes. They do not. The conclusion considers the implications of publicly expressed opinions, whether freely given or not, for undemocratic as well as democratic political systems.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland