Title

Satisfaction with Democracy in Latin America: Perspectives from Political Elites and Citizens

Date of Publication

2020 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Political Stability

Keywords

Satisfaction with democracy, Latin America, Public Opinion, Political Elites, Political Attitudes

Description

This chapter uses an individual approach to analyze satisfaction with democracy (SWD) among both Latin American citizens and their representatives. We compare differences in levels of SWD and analyze the impact of five groups of factors included in the AmericasBarometer and PELA project: political trust and corruption, political performance, economic performance, political and cultural attitudes, and a cluster of sociodemographic variables. The analyses reveal critical discrepancies in the levels of satisfaction with democracy between the two groups. Latin American legislators seem to be more satisfied than their citizenries. Moreover, the variables that explain SWD levels in both groups are different. Results indicate that citizens have a more holistic vision when evaluating their level of satisfaction with their democracy, valuing those policies that affect society as a whole, or the general economic situation. Nevertheless, political elites SWD is related to more specific elements: being part of the government or the opposition, trust in the presidential figure, or the expression of post-materialistic values. These findings contribute to the comparative literature in SWD between old and new democracies. At the same time, it offers a novel comparative view of representatives and citizens, whose differing visions of how democracy works clearly reflect each group’s position within the system.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Satisfaction with Democracy in Latin America: Perspectives from Political Elites and Citizens

This chapter uses an individual approach to analyze satisfaction with democracy (SWD) among both Latin American citizens and their representatives. We compare differences in levels of SWD and analyze the impact of five groups of factors included in the AmericasBarometer and PELA project: political trust and corruption, political performance, economic performance, political and cultural attitudes, and a cluster of sociodemographic variables. The analyses reveal critical discrepancies in the levels of satisfaction with democracy between the two groups. Latin American legislators seem to be more satisfied than their citizenries. Moreover, the variables that explain SWD levels in both groups are different. Results indicate that citizens have a more holistic vision when evaluating their level of satisfaction with their democracy, valuing those policies that affect society as a whole, or the general economic situation. Nevertheless, political elites SWD is related to more specific elements: being part of the government or the opposition, trust in the presidential figure, or the expression of post-materialistic values. These findings contribute to the comparative literature in SWD between old and new democracies. At the same time, it offers a novel comparative view of representatives and citizens, whose differing visions of how democracy works clearly reflect each group’s position within the system.