Just 48% of people who responded to the UK Household Longitudinal Study said they approved of the way they were governed.
A bigger divide opened up with a follow-up question of whether interviewees were satisfied or dissatisfied with their life overall. In the former group, 51% reported they were satisfied with the operation of democracy in the UK, but only 40% backed the system if they were dissatisfied generally.
Older voters were more likely to be dissatisfied with democracy, with 45% in the 45 to 54 age bracket choosing positive responses, compared with 52% of those aged 16 to 24.
Other findings of the survey revealed that only 44% of those who expressed an opinion said they were very or fairly interested in politics, compared with 27% who were not very interested and 28% who were not at all interested.