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Global Barometer Surveys (GBS) is a collaborative research project consisting of six regional barometers. It is the first comprehensive effort to measure, at a mass level, the current social, political, and economic climate around the world. It provides an independent, non-partisan, scientific and multidisciplinary view of public opinion on a range of policy-relevant issues. Currently, the GBS network covers 70% of the world’s population and is still expanding.

The GBS represents an indigenous initiative to develop a global intellectual community for the study of democracy by surveying ordinary citizens. The project’s agenda is built on the premises that public attitudes and orientations toward democracy are crucial to the process of political legitimacy and that political culture operates autonomously as a key factor mediating the impact of socio-economic modernization on the evolution of the political regime, particularly in democracies. Originally inspired by the Eurobarometer, which was funded in the 1970s to track mass attitudes in what was then the European Community, new regional barometers emerged, developing innovative approaches that are adapted to regions around the world undergoing rapid political and economic change. The GBS now cover six regions, including Africa (Afrobarometer), East and Southeast Asia (Asian Barometer), South Asia (South Asia Barometer), Central and South America (Latinobarómetro), the Middle East (Arab Barometer), and countries of former Soviet Union (Eurasia Barometer). As more regions join the GBS network, a standard approach is being established to ensure that data is comparable and reliable. Before the launch of the GBS in 2004, the survey instruments adopted by the different barometer surveys, while sharing the common research agenda of exploring citizens’ attitudes toward democracy, governance and political reform, were not strictly comparable due to differences in format and wording. Over the years, the GBS has established standardized questionnaire modules across regions, while also allowing regional barometers to retain their own region-specific items that reflected particular local concerns.