Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Latinobarómetro 2016

Here is the link to the 2016 Latinobarómetro report/results, hot off the presses. Support for democracy has taken a slight hit, but still is just around the average for the past two decades. At the same time satisfaction with democracy is going up. Supports for governments have gone significantly over the past 6-7 years.

There's a lot of noise here. Despite all the problems in Argentina, 80% are satisfied with life. People in the Dominican Republic are satisfied with most everything (why?). Of all countries, Peruvians are the most concerned about crime, whereas Venezuelans--who suffer tremendously from crime--are barely concerned. Venezuelans aren't even much concerned about the economy (6%) which seems to make no sense at all until you see that "shortages" dominate, which I wouldn't separate from the economy. Yet even though Peruvians are concerned about crime, only 6% are actually afraid of being a crime victim. Nicaraguans feel pretty good about things, but only 41% support democracy. Indeed, 61% of Nicaraguans say it doesn't matter if a government isn't democratic as long as it resolves problems. At the same time, only 31% of Venezuelans say so (second lowest in the region) even though that's been going on for some time, which speaks mostly to how unpalatable the opposition is.

The question of supporting non-democratic governments is, I think, a key one. The region seems split. As a whole that support is going down, but it is very strong in some countries.

This is why democratization in Central America is so difficult. People want results, and may prefer democracy but won't necessarily demand it. That Brazil number is high too.


Anonymous,  2:06 PM  

You often write about Latin American being pragmatic more than ideological, and I think that plays right into the lack of support for democracy. From a US perspective, democracy is presented as *the* answer, but the democracies that exist around the world (as much in the US as anywhere in Latin America) that consistently fail to represent the desires of the people, don't inspire much confidence. I mean, people were sick of the Kirchners, mainly because of the economy, so they vote for the “Change” candidate who wants to privatize everything, eliminate vital subsidies, and prioritize paying off debts. Now everyone's pissed at Macri. That's not the change people wanted, but they wanted change, and that was their only choice. The same thing's going to happen in Venezuela. Or look at Colombia in 2014 where you basically had three Uribe candidates running for president. If this is what democracy has come to mean, then it's a failure. And in that light, I think the situation in Nicaragua makes a lot of sense – the Sandinistas aren't terribly democratic, but who cares about that if you're satisfied with what they're doing?

Greg Weeks 2:25 PM  

Yes, I agree completely. The Nicaraguan case is striking in that regard. It is not a good sign for democracy.

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