Danish Public Opinion: Stability, Change, and Polarization

Peter Thisted Dinesen, Rune Slothuus, Rune Stubager

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Citizens’ political opinions provide an essential input to the democratic process that governments must respond to or at least engage with. This chapter provides an overview of public opinion toward four major political issues in Denmark: economic distribution, immigration, the environment, and the European Union. First, aggregate public opinion on the four issues over four decades is illuminated. There is remarkable stability in aggregate public opinion over time. Second, we explore the extent to which this stability in aggregate opinion conceals changing degrees of social polarization in opinions across four socio-demographic groups (gender, age, education, and occupation). Third, we analyse the development of political polarization in Danish public opinion by comparing opinions across voters of political parties over time. Despite aggregate stability, there are remarkable changes in polarization across partisan groups, particularly on attitudes toward immigration, and to a lesser extent, the European Union. Lastly, public opinion in Denmark is compared to other European countries (Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, Poland, and Spain).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Danish Politics
EditorsPeter Munk Christiansen, Jørgen Elklit, Peter Nedergaard
Number of pages19
Place of publicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication dateJul 2020
ISBN (Print)9780198833598
ISBN (Electronic)9780198833598
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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