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Knowing Left from Right: Ideological Thinking in the 2002 and 2006 Brazilian Presidential Elections
Unformatted Document Text:  Data and Variables Below I analyze data from a six wave panel study conducted in two medium-sized Brazilian cities, Juiz de Fora and Caxias do Sul, between 2002 and 2006. The sample is limited to the 1,412 respondents present in all six waves. The dependent variable for most of the analysis is self-reported ideology, which respondents identified in each wave. The question has three non-response options: the usual “doesn’t know” and “no response,” as well as “the respondent does not understand the meaning of these terms” (interviewers did not read this option aloud and marked it only when the respondent volunteered this answer). After examining the distribution of responses to this question, I treat all three non-response options as a single category throughout the rest of the paper. I code predictors of leftism as follows. The feeling thermometer for Lula originally ran from 0 to 10; as with nearly all other independent variables, I recode it to range from 0 to 1. Support for democracy, originally coded into five response categories, was recoded to run from strong support for the statement that “sometimes a military government is better” (0) to strong agreement that “democracy is always better” (1). Tolerance for strikes is a three-category variable where 0 represents “strikes ought to be prohibited” and 1 “all strikes should be permitted.” Opposition to privatization and opposition to free trade are both five-category variables for which 0 represents strong agreement with privatization and free trade, respectively; 1 represents strong opposition to them. Support for land reform is again a five-category variable, but coded so that 1 represents support for the policy and 0 opposition. And finally, support for social spending is an index (alpha .51) based on the mean of three five-category variables regarding approval of general social spending, the Bolsa Escola conditional cash transfer 8

Authors: Smith, Amy.
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Data and Variables
Below I analyze data from a six wave panel study conducted in two medium-sized
Brazilian cities, Juiz de Fora and Caxias do Sul, between 2002 and 2006. The sample is limited
to the 1,412 respondents present in all six waves. The dependent variable for most of the
analysis is self-reported ideology, which respondents identified in each wave. The question has
three non-response options: the usual “doesn’t know” and “no response,” as well as “the
respondent does not understand the meaning of these terms” (interviewers did not read this
option aloud and marked it only when the respondent volunteered this answer). After examining
the distribution of responses to this question, I treat all three non-response options as a single
category throughout the rest of the paper.
I code predictors of leftism as follows. The feeling thermometer for Lula originally ran
from 0 to 10; as with nearly all other independent variables, I recode it to range from 0 to 1.
Support for democracy, originally coded into five response categories, was recoded to run from
strong support for the statement that “sometimes a military government is better” (0) to strong
agreement that “democracy is always better” (1). Tolerance for strikes is a three-category
variable where 0 represents “strikes ought to be prohibited” and 1 “all strikes should be
permitted.” Opposition to privatization and opposition to free trade are both five-category
variables for which 0 represents strong agreement with privatization and free trade, respectively;
1 represents strong opposition to them. Support for land reform is again a five-category variable,
but coded so that 1 represents support for the policy and 0 opposition. And finally, support for
social spending is an index (alpha .51) based on the mean of three five-category variables
regarding approval of general social spending, the Bolsa Escola conditional cash transfer
8


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