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The Democracy Index for 2011 highlighted the impact of the Arab Spring and the greater effects it might have, as well as the impact of the global financial crisis in 2007–08 on politics throughout most of Europe.
The Democracy Index score was lower in 2011 than in 2010 in 48 countries out of the 167 that are covered.
Russia was downgraded from a hybrid regime to an authoritarian regime, which the report attributes to concerns over the December 4 legislative election and Vladimir Putin's decision to run again in the 2012 presidential election.
Portugal was also downgraded to the flawed democracy category, attributed to the effects of the global financial crisis.
It was higher in 41 ranked countries, and it stayed the same in 78.
In nine countries there was a change in regime type between 20; in four of these there was regression.
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the UK-based company the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) that intends to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states.
The index was first produced in 2006, with updates for 2008, 2010 and the following years since then.
Each answer is translated to a mark, either 0 or 1, or for the three-answer alternative questions, 0.5.Average regional scores in 2012 were very similar to scores in 2011.An exception is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where the average score increased by more than a tenth of a point, from 3.62 to 3.73 and three countries moved from authoritarian to hybrid regimes (Egypt, Libya, Morocco).Some answers are provided by public-opinion surveys from the respective countries.In the case of countries for which survey results are missing, survey results for similar countries and expert assessments are used in order to fill in gaps.