Sunday, November 16, 2008

Latinobarómetro 2008

If you haven't already, take a few minutes to look at the Latinobarómetro 2008. It is chock full of info. Much of it, in fact, speaks well of the state of democracy in the region these days.

I will take just one example--the growth of the center in Latin America. The percentage of people who self-identify as centrist is 42%, which has been growing steadily over the past 5-6 years. Meanwhile, the percentage that self-identify as "left" has remained steady and is currently at 17%. The growth of the center has come at the expense of the right (which is at 22%, versus 31% in 2001) and those who in the past either did not respond or said "don't know" or "none," which fell from 30% in 2002 to 19% now.

The right has clearly fallen from its heyday in the 1990s, particularly as disillusionment with economic reforms grew. The left took no such hit. There was, in fact, a shift to the left, but it really meant from the right to the center. The Latinobarómetro analysis is that the center is voting for candidates of the left, and consequently keeping those elected leaders relatively moderate. There is some really interesting research to be done on the erosion of the right.

Trivia: which country had the fewest to self-identify as "right"? Chile at 11%. Colombia, not surprisingly, had the highest (33%).


Thomas S. Higinbotham 12:24 PM  

'The Economist' has a good piece on the the "Latinobarometro 2008"(, which I think covers the main point you were suggesting - the growth of the centre at the expense of the right. But also the belief that the state should have a larger role in the economy.

Greg Weeks 1:59 PM  

Actually, I find the Economist's analysis to be misleading, as they do not explain where the centrists are coming from. I think the main conclusion from Latinobarometro is that there is a big opening for the center-left, not the center-right.

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