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Classic theories of public opinion suggest that negative shocks can undermine system support in weak democracies, but scant work has systematically assessed this thesis. We identify Peru’s explosive Vacuna-gate scandal as a most-likely case for finding a connection between corruption and political support. The scandal’s unexpected revelation in the middle of the 2021 AmericasBarometer Peru survey created conditions for a natural experiment. Applying an unexpected-event-during-survey design, we consider the consequences of the scandal for perceptions of corruption, system support, and support for democracy. We find robust evidence that the scandal increased even already high perceptions of corruption and lowered system support. Contrary to expectations derived from prior theories, we find no effect on explicit support for democracy. In the conclusion, we discuss the nuanced ways that scandal may shape democratic stability.
Online surveys of public opinion are less expensive and faster to administer than other surveys. However, nonprobability online samples diverge from the gold standard of probabilistic sampling. Although scholars have examined the quality of nonprobability samples in the United States and Europe, we know little about how these samples perform in developing contexts. We use nine online surveys fielded in six Latin American countries to examine the bias in these samples. We also ask whether two common tools that researchers use to mitigate sample bias—post-stratification and sample matching—improve these online samples. We find that online samples in the region exhibit high levels of bias, even in countries where Internet access is widespread. We also find that post-stratification does little to improve sample quality; sample matching outperforms the provider’s standard approach, but the gains are substantively small. This is partly because unequal Internet access and lack of investment in panel recruitment means that providers are unlikely to have enough panelists in lower socioeconomic categories to draw representative online samples, regardless of the sampling method. Researchers who want to draw conclusions about the attitudes or behaviors of the public as a whole in contexts like Latin America still need probability samples.
Terrorist attacks routinely produce rallies for incumbent men in the executive office. With scarce cases, there has been little consideration of terrorism’s consequences for evaluations of sitting women executives. Fusing research on rallies with scholarship on women in politics, we derive a gender-revised framework wherein the public will be less inclined to rally around women when terrorists attack. A critical case is UK Prime Minister Theresa May, a right-leaning incumbent with security experience. Employing a natural experiment, we demonstrate that the public fails to rally after the 2017 Manchester Arena attack. Instead, evaluations of May decrease, with sharp declines among those holding negatives views about women. We further show May’s party loses votes in areas closer to the attack. We then find support for the argument in a multinational test. We conclude that conventional theory on rally events requires revision: women leaders cannot count on rallies following major terrorist attacks.
Data quality in survey research remains a paramount concern for those studying mass political behavior. Because surveys are conducted in increasingly diverse contexts around the world, ensuring that best practices are followed becomes ever more important to the field of political science. Bringing together insights from surveys conducted in more than 80 countries worldwide, this article highlights common challenges faced in survey research and outlines steps that researchers can take to improve the quality of survey data. Importantly, the article demonstrates that with the investment of the necessary time and resources, it is possible to carry out high-quality survey research even in challenging environments in which survey research is not well established.
In the interest of promoting open and reproducible science, the Journal of Experimental Political Science editorial team will pilot the pre-acceptance of preregistered reports. We note that the launch of this new submission option is a complement to, and does not replace, the option to submit other types of manuscripts. JEPS remains open to receiving and reviewing high quality manuscripts regardless of whether they are based on preregistered studies.
We assess individuals’ responses to news about threat, compared to news about positive indicators of well-being, using data from nine experiments conducted across eight countries. The general proposition is that exposure to news about threat increases tendencies to “tune in” to information, compared to those presented with news about better times. The evidence strongly supports this expectation: without exception, the average respondent recalls and seeks more information about terrorist threat than good times. Further, this pattern of results generalizes to other threats. The study thematically and geographically extends research on negative information and political learning. It also has broader implications: absorbing newsworthy information is foundational to the types of attitudes citizens express and the extent to which, and how, they engage in the world around them.
We are excited and honored to be the editorial team for JEPS. We are indebted to Eric Dickson for his efforts as the journal's previous editor. He set a high bar for JEPS as an outlet for high quality experimental research. Lucky for us, the healthy state of experimental research means that we will continue to have a deep pool of well-crafted and important work. We also thank Nick Haas, who deftly guided us through the transition as Editorial Assistant. Without his help, it would have been a near impossible task to get up to speed.
“In this actual economic moment, which of the following criteria best summates your personal attitude toward the issue of privatization of state industry? Choose only one criterion.”
Privatize all state industries.
Privatize only those industries that produce scarce profits.
Privatize all the industries that are not strategically relevant to the development of the nation.
Leave things in their current state.
Does not know [cannot read]
“Also, along the same line, which of the following criteria best approximates your personal attitude toward the theme of privatization of public services? Choose only one criterion.”
Privatize all public services.
Privatize only those services of scarce profits.
Privatize all public services except services that are highly necessary to the majority of the populace.
Leave things in their current state.
Does not know [cannot read]
“In the processes of economic reorganization, the actions of diverse international organizations have been debated. In principle, what is the level of intervention in the national economy that you consider appropriate for supranational institutions like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund? [Await response]. And what about the Inter-American Development Bank?”
Does not know
Variable 057, 059, and 061–
“In the privatization process that your national economy is currently undergoing, where do you prefer capital investment to come from?”
This book is the result of a long, didactic, and collegial process. In the time between the start and finish of this project, we experienced significant changes in our academic careers and our personal lives. Four of us made the transition from graduate student to assistant professor during the course of writing this book. As a group tally, we began the project with one little girl in our midst and ended with eight young children. At the project's start, we all lived a distance of roughly ten miles from each other around Duke University; at one point toward the project's end, we were spread across three continents.
Our research cluster gathered for the first time in the spring of 1998 in the office of the only author of this study who then already held a faculty position, Herbert Kitschelt. We had recently been given an early peek at a significant new dataset, the first round of the Parliamentary Elites of Latin America survey, created by scholars at the University of Salamanca under the leadership of Manuel Alcántara Sáez. Most of us present at this meeting were second- and third-year graduate students whose research interests focused on Latin America. The project would be to undertake a thorough investigation into the nature of programmatic party competition in Latin America, an analytical question on which Kitschelt had just completed a book with data from postcommunist Eastern Europe.
What political, economic, and social issues shape the political arena of Latin American legislatures? During the past two decades, dramatic changes have altered the economic and political makeup of Latin American societies, perhaps shifting the ideological bases of party competition. Though comparative researchers have delved into the deep cleavages that might shape politics in the region (cf. Dix 1989; Collier and Collier 1991), we know little about how these divides are mapped into political preferences at the elite level. Party systems are shaped by both societal cleavages and political institutions such as electoral rules (Lipset and Rokkan 1967; Cox 1997). In the stage set by cleavages and institutions, strategic politicians devise political programs to capture votes, sometimes energizing dormant societal divides to garner electoral support, sometimes reactively aligning their political platforms to shifting preferences in the electorate. In any case, politicians “map” multiple issues on essentially “either-or” propositions, in order to convey their own political preferences to cognitive misers in the electorate. The spatial analysis of politics refers to these issue bundles as “ideologies.” This chapter explores Latin American legislatures by analyzing the structure and contents of issue bundles.
We begin our empirical analysis of programmatic structuration by focusing on the attitudes, values, and opinions of legislative elites. In doing so, we confirm that the contents and structures of what we call ideological and partisan spaces vary immensely throughout the region.
Where do national profiles of programmatic party system structuration come from? What are their correlates and consequences and what are their potential implications for the future of democracy in the region, particularly given that we can see a decade beyond our point of observation in the late 1990s and consider intervening developments? Part II is devoted to these causal questions, whereas the conclusion takes up more speculative themes concerning the subsequent development of Latin American politics after the turn of the millennium. Chapters 6 and 7 deal with the long-term and short-term developments that might have influenced economic PPS, the most powerful issue dimension in Latin American party systems insofar as they have any programmatic structuration. In Chapter 8, we take up religion and regime as further programmatic dimensions that make a difference in some of our countries.
Long-term causal mechanisms turn out to be decisive in accounting for the rise and tenacity of economic and religious programmatic alignments, whereas regime divides are driven by recent episodes of authoritarianism or manifest performance failures of current democracy. Nevertheless, exceptionally sharp and prolonged economic decline since the 1980s also erodes established economic PPS, at least within the subgroup of countries with favorable long-term conditions for economic PPS. Our analysis, however, suggests that neither good nor bad performance builds up economic PPS in countries with inauspicious long-term dispositions to programmatic party competition.
By the end of the twentieth century, most Latin American countries could look back on their longest uninterrupted and, as of this writing, still open-ended period of political democracy. No country except Chile and Uruguay had enjoyed a longer run of full or even constrained democratic competition in any previous era. Before 1980, only five Latin American countries had achieved episodes of more than twelve continuous years of democratic or semidemocratic rule, but by 1999 that threshold had been crossed by no fewer than six additional countries. By the turn of the millennium, four of the five countries with comparatively durable democratic experiences before 1970 had once again accumulated a record of more than twelve years of continuous democracy since their most recent democratic transitions. Consequently, Latin America stands out as the most uniformly democratic region on earth behind the established Western democracies and Japan. This is evidenced in Table I.1, which is based on Larry Diamond's recoding of Freedom House regime scores (Diamond 2002: 29–30, table 2).
Because of the regional prevalence and durability of democracy in Latin America since the 1980s, research on the region has begun to move away since the mid-1990s from the theme of political regime change and has started to focus more on the empirical “quality” of democratic institutions and processes of authoritative decision making. Our study contributes to this field of investigations.
In Part I we present data that describe the degree of programmatic structuration of Latin American party systems. Each chapter focuses on one of four indicators: the dimensionality of the issue space (Chapter 2), left-right semantics (Chapter 3), elite-mass programmatic linkage on key issues or representation (Chapter 4), and the ideological cohesion of individual parties (Chapter 5). The data that we use to measure each of these indicators come from the 1997 Parliamentary Elites of Latin America (PELA) project and, in the case of representation, are complemented by data from the 1998 Latinobarometer survey. Full descriptions of the PELA survey, the variables we use, and a discussion of several data issues are presented in Appendixes A–C and in Web Appendixes D and E (at www.cambridge.org/9780521114950).
Although many of our key findings are summarized in the introduction to the next section of the book, Part II, analysts of party systems more generally and of Latin American politics more particularly will want to inspect these data carefully. Many of our indicators are new and are better understood when analyzed in their appropriate context within each chapter. Moreover, the scope of each analysis is broad and, in several cases, unprecedented; the data permit the comparison of Latin American party systems not only to each other but to party systems in the advanced industrial democracies and the former communist regimes of Eastern Europe. This introduction to Part I begins by justifying our operationalization of each indicator.