This paper makes an empirical contribution to the debate on digital democratization. It surveys online political participation and examines people’s perception of the impact of the Internet on democratic quality. First, a representative national survey of Switzerland indicates that people are partly politically engaged online, but the majority are sceptical regarding the Internet’s positive impact on democracy. Second, an international comparative analysis based on a newly developed ‘Perception of Digital Democratization Index’ confirms the impression of Swiss scepticism and reveals differences in 18 countries. Third, the reasons for pessimistic and optimistic views on digital democratization in Switzerland are explored. Logistic regression reveals that political activity has an explanatory power while sociodemographics and factors related to Internet usage do not play a significant role in the perception of digital democratization. The scepticism is primarily evident among politically inactive population strata while active citizens do believe in the positive effects of the Internet.