Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Figuring Out Latin American Public Opinion

I spent a long and really engaging day at Florida International University, whose Latin America and Caribbean Center hosted a conference for the launching of the 2014 AmericasBarometer data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project.

I served as discussant for the opening panel, and some of what I said remained relevant for the rest of the conference, which of course focused on the data. There is a lot we need to sort out, but overall people are not terribly happy with their political systems. They prefer democracy but too many don't like their own all that much. Even in place with turbulent civil-military histories (even Honduras, which is very recent) they want their armed forces to participate more in dealing with crime or other issues we would normally consider reserved for the police. And this transcends ideology.

This goes along with stronger economies, elections, more access to technology, etc. So things should be getting better, but people perceive them as worse. I am simplifying, because there was a lot of stimulating discussion about how best to interpret the data. I'll definitely be coming back to this.


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