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Democrats with Adjectives: Linking Direct and Indirect Measures of Democratic Support
European Journal of Political Research (2007)
  • Andreas Schedler
  • Rodolfo Sarsfield
Major cross-national surveys measure popular support for democracy through direct questions about democracy in the abstract. Since people may entertain competing democratic ideas and ideals, however, we ignore the extent to which standard questions capture citizen support for liberal democracy. To solve the validity problems associated with direct measures of democratic support, we propose linking them to more concrete, indirect measures of support for democratic principles and institutions. We employ the statistical technique of cluster analysis to establish this linkage. Cluster analysis permits grouping respondents in a way that is open to complex and inconsistent attitudinal profiles. It permits the identification of ‘democrats with adjectives’ who support democracy in the abstract, while rejecting core principles of liberal democracy. We demonstrate the fruitfulness of this approach by drawing a map of ‘illiberal democrats’ in Mexico, on the basis of the country’s 2003 National Survey on Political Culture.
  • democratic support,
  • comparative public opinion,
  • political culture,
  • cluster analysis,
  • Mexico
Publication Date
August, 2007
Citation Information
Andreas Schedler and Rodolfo Sarsfield. "Democrats with Adjectives: Linking Direct and Indirect Measures of Democratic Support" European Journal of Political Research Vol. 46 Iss. 5 (2007)
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