International comparisons suggests that there is no clear relationship between the extensiveness of party funding regulations and level of public trust in political parties.
Data from the World Values Survey suggest that, while public trust in political parties is not particularly strong in any established democracy, the highest levels of trust are found in the Nordic countries. The Nordic countries impose very few restrictions on how much parties can spend or how they raise money. Crucially, however, political parties in the Nordic countries receive comparatively generous levels of state support – with donations playing a relatively minor role.
Levels of public trust in political parties are broadly similar both in mainland European countries with tightly regulated party funding, and in ‘Westminster’ democracies with more liberal arrangements – although Spain and Canada display levels of trust approaching those in the Nordic countries. Levels of public trust in UK political parties would appear to be broadly in line with the international norm.
Download: Public Trust in Political Parties