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SPP 394

Author: Andreas Schedler and Rodolfo Sarsfield
Description: Major cross-national surveys measure popular support for democracy through direct questions about democracy in the abstract. Since people may entertain competing democratic ideals and ideals, however, we ignore the extent to which standard questions capture citizen support for liberal democracy in particular. To solve the validity problems associated with direct measures of democratic support, we propose to link them with more concrete, indirect measures of support for democratic ideas and institutions. We employ the statistical technique of cluster analysis to establish this linkage. Cluster analysis allows to group respondents in a way that is open to complex and inconsistent attitudinal profiles. It allows to identify "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.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland