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Knowing Left from Right: Ideological Thinking in the 2002 and 2006 Brazilian Presidential Elections

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Abstract:

Though the press has widely proclaimed a recent “turn to the left” across Latin America, it remains unclear whether most Latin Americans at the polls understand or care whether they vote for leftists. In this paper, I ask what leftism means to Brazilians using a six wave panel survey conducted from 2002 to 2006. I argue that we cannot understand ideology without taking into account the fact that many people fail to identify with any position on the left-right spectrum. Moreover, even those who identify with a left-right position often exhibit a level of ideological thinking that is shaky at best. Respondents vary in the over-time stability of their reported ideologies as well as the extent to which they make candidate choices based on ideology. I show that ideological thinking is affected by education and political knowledge, and also by discussions of politics and exposure to news media. Examining predictors of self-identified leftism, I find that among the minority of voters who are highly ideological, leftism is associated with many social and economic attitudes including, surprisingly, support for free trade and opposition to social spending. However, among those who are least ideological, self-identified leftism is affected largely by sociodemographic cleavages.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

ideolog (227), wave (91), respond (87), think (72), leftism (59), left (42), polit (42), tabl (42), 1 (38), report (36), right (36), variabl (35), lula (34), chang (33), social (33), mean (33), support (33), candid (32), identifi (31), leftist (29), peopl (29),

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Brazil, Ideology, Ideological thinking, Political behavior
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Name: MPSA Annual National Conference
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MLA Citation:

Smith, Amy. "Knowing Left from Right: Ideological Thinking in the 2002 and 2006 Brazilian Presidential Elections" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MPSA Annual National Conference, Palmer House Hotel, Hilton, Chicago, IL, Apr 03, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p267171_index.html>

APA Citation:

Smith, A. E. , 2008-04-03 "Knowing Left from Right: Ideological Thinking in the 2002 and 2006 Brazilian Presidential Elections" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MPSA Annual National Conference, Palmer House Hotel, Hilton, Chicago, IL Online <PDF>. 2013-12-14 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p267171_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Though the press has widely proclaimed a recent “turn to the left” across Latin America, it remains unclear whether most Latin Americans at the polls understand or care whether they vote for leftists. In this paper, I ask what leftism means to Brazilians using a six wave panel survey conducted from 2002 to 2006. I argue that we cannot understand ideology without taking into account the fact that many people fail to identify with any position on the left-right spectrum. Moreover, even those who identify with a left-right position often exhibit a level of ideological thinking that is shaky at best. Respondents vary in the over-time stability of their reported ideologies as well as the extent to which they make candidate choices based on ideology. I show that ideological thinking is affected by education and political knowledge, and also by discussions of politics and exposure to news media. Examining predictors of self-identified leftism, I find that among the minority of voters who are highly ideological, leftism is associated with many social and economic attitudes including, surprisingly, support for free trade and opposition to social spending. However, among those who are least ideological, self-identified leftism is affected largely by sociodemographic cleavages.

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Document Type: PDF
Page count: 31
Word count: 8498
Text sample:
Knowing Left from Right: Ideological Thinking and the Meaning of Leftism in the Electorate in the 2002 and 2006 Brazilian Presidential Elections Amy Erica Smith Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association 3 April 2008 Thanks to David Barker and Barry Ames for comments on a previous version of this paper. Abstract Though the press has widely proclaimed a recent “turn to the left” across Latin America it remains unclear whether most Latin Americans at
2775 F (26 1077) 51.88 Prob > F 0.000 R-squared 0.2522 Note: Coefficients are significant at *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p<.001. Fixed effects for wave are omitted for ease of presentation. Standard errors are robust and clustered by ID. a The linear combination of the interaction and baseline coefficients is significant at p < .05 or better. b The linear combination of the interaction and baseline coefficients is significant at p < .10. c The linear combination


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