Latin American Elections
Choice and Change
Publication Year: 2017
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
The notion that national elections in Latin America are, or should be, democratic now forms part of the ordinary discourse regarding the region’s politics. It was not always so. Throughout the twentieth century, governments were often selected (or deselected) by golpes del estado, coups where typically a military leader forcefully overthrew the seated rulers, installing himself as dictator. This pattern can be traced back at least to the beginnings of that century, and the era of militarism and caudillismo—the rule of ironfisted leaders (Johnson 1964). The caudillo was a strongman who exacted obedience by fear, patronage, and a powerful personality. Such...
Chapter 1. Voting Behavior and Public Opinionin Latin America
The research on Latin America politics is impressive and covers much ground. Scholars have developed genuine explanations for a variety of phenomena, such as the pioneer work on state development (Cardoso and Faletto 1979) and military rule (Collier 1979; Malloy 1976; Schmitter 1973; Remmer 1991). More recent contributions have examined the specifics of presidential regimes (Mainwaring and Shugart 1997), legislative politics (Morgenstern and Nacif 2002), or party systems (Kitschelt et al. 2010; Di Tella 2005; Scully 1995). Others, for their part, have explored democratic transition and consolidation, more broadly, in the region (Agüero and...
Chapter 2. Demographics and the Vote
The very first individual-level studies of voting behavior (e.g., Lazarsfeld, Berelson, and Gaudet 1948; Berelson, Lazarsfeld, and McPhee 1954) gave particular attention to demographic characteristics, like age, gender, and religiosity, as determinants of vote choice. Early contributions on voting behavior in Latin America also gave demographic determinants an important place (e.g., Soares 1961). Following these original studies, demographics have been relegated to a second-tier role in subsequent studies of vote choice, although we know party systems (in some parts of the world more than others) have developed around important social cleavages (Lipset and...
Chapter 3. Socioeconomics and the Vote
Several studies carried out in well-established democracies have shown that variables indicating socioeconomic status have less of an impact on vote choice nowadays (see notably Blais et al. 2002 for Canada; Lewis-Beck et al. 2008 for the United States; Clarke et al. 2009 for Great Britain; Nadeau et al. 2012 for France; and Franklin, Mackie, and Valen 1992 for Europe in general). However, we must consider whether a similar conclusion is applicable to contemporary Latin American countries. Some could argue that the situation in emerging democracies and transitional economies today shares traits with the situation in developed Western countries from...
Chapter 4. Anchor Variables and the Vote
In this chapter, we are interested in two variables that reinforce voter loyalty toward candidates of the same political party over time: party identification (ID) and ideological orientation. Since the publication of the classic The American Voter (Campbell et al. 1960), a number of works have shown that many voters tend to develop an attachment to a political party. For a substantial number of individuals, this party identification leads them to consistently support the same political party over time. Therefore, the behavior of these voters shows a large amount of party loyalty, with those switching to other parties being rare....
Chapter 5. Issues and the Vote
In democracies, voters respond to long-term and short-term forces, and Latin American electorates provide no exception. Social structure and psychological attachments, which we have considered in previous chapters, are prime examples of long-term forces shaping vote choice. These forces tend to be enduring, stable, and lasting—in a word, exogenous. With respect to the funnel of causality logic we have been following, they occur early on, at the wide-open mouth of the funnel. They serve to frame, or constrain, electoral choice, rendering it a “standing decision,” in the words of V. O. Key (1966). However, short- term forces can move voters off their...
Chapter 6. A Comparative Perspective
In previous chapters, we looked at how four blocks of variables influence vote choice in Latin America. We were inspired by the Michigan model and chose the variables for our study based on this model, which stipulates that an individual’s vote choice depends on both long-term and short-term factors. Long-term factors include individual demographic characteristics (such as age, gender, region, education, and religion), their socioeconomic characteristics (such as employment status, employment sector, income, and material possessions), ideological orientation, and party identification. The short-term factors refer to various issues at the center of political debates in Latin America (such as corruption, violence, and the economic situation)....
Latin America has had to overcome a number of important roadblocks before becoming a democratic region of the world. The establishment of civilian governments, elected by the population after competitive election campaigns, has been a key step on its path to democratic consolidation over the past half century. In this context, how do Latin American voters orient themselves when it comes to democratically selecting their political leaders? Does the voting behavior of Latin Americans respond to the same set of “laws” as in more established electoral democracies? Does it also take on some particular colors that are specific to the region’s social and economic context?...
About the Authors
Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 66 tables, 18 figures
Publication Year: 2017
OCLC Number: 971613487
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Latin American Elections