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Knowing Left from Right: Ideological Thinking in the 2002 and 2006 Brazilian Presidential Elections
Unformatted Document Text:  Before discussing the results, a caution about interpretation is in order. Leftism values are missing for all respondents who score a zero on ideological thinking. Thus the non- interacted coefficients by themselves have no intuitive meaning, since they represent the relationship among a group of respondents that by definition does not exist. However, the interaction terms represent the change in the impact of each variable over the range of ideology scores. Summing a variable’s interacted and non-interacted coefficients together, we see the impact of that variable when ideological thinking is 1.0, its maximum score. For a respondent whose ideology score is, for instance, 0.05, the impact of a given variable will be the non- interacted coefficient plus 0.05 times the coefficient for the interaction term. The results in Table 9 strongly confirm the hypothesis that the meaning of leftism is contingent on ideological thinking. As we can see from the non-interacted coefficients, most of the variables have very little impact on reported leftism among people who are close to the bottom on the scale of ideological thinking. Counterintuitively, positive attitudes towards both Lula and democracy lead people in this group to identify themselves as being on the right. No other attitudes are significant predictors of leftism among people near the bottom of the scale. However, we do find two sociodemographic cleavages: women in this group are more likely to identify as leftist, while older people are less likely. Turning to the interaction terms, we see that the magnitude, sign, and significance of many of the coefficients vary significantly based on the respondent’s level of ideological thinking. Superscript notes in Table 9 indicate variables for which the linear combination of the baseline plus interaction terms is statistically significant; these variables are significant predictors of leftism among the most ideological respondents. As we can see, every attitudinal variable is significantly related to leftism for this group. Positive attitudes towards both Lula and 19

Authors: Smith, Amy.
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Before discussing the results, a caution about interpretation is in order. Leftism values
are missing for all respondents who score a zero on ideological thinking. Thus the non-
interacted coefficients by themselves have no intuitive meaning, since they represent the
relationship among a group of respondents that by definition does not exist. However, the
interaction terms represent the change in the impact of each variable over the range of ideology
scores. Summing a variable’s interacted and non-interacted coefficients together, we see the
impact of that variable when ideological thinking is 1.0, its maximum score. For a respondent
whose ideology score is, for instance, 0.05, the impact of a given variable will be the non-
interacted coefficient plus 0.05 times the coefficient for the interaction term.
The results in Table 9 strongly confirm the hypothesis that the meaning of leftism is
contingent on ideological thinking. As we can see from the non-interacted coefficients, most of
the variables have very little impact on reported leftism among people who are close to the
bottom on the scale of ideological thinking. Counterintuitively, positive attitudes towards both
Lula and democracy lead people in this group to identify themselves as being on the right. No
other attitudes are significant predictors of leftism among people near the bottom of the scale.
However, we do find two sociodemographic cleavages: women in this group are more likely to
identify as leftist, while older people are less likely.
Turning to the interaction terms, we see that the magnitude, sign, and significance of
many of the coefficients vary significantly based on the respondent’s level of ideological
thinking. Superscript notes in Table 9 indicate variables for which the linear combination of the
baseline plus interaction terms is statistically significant; these variables are significant
predictors of leftism among the most ideological respondents. As we can see, every attitudinal
variable is significantly related to leftism for this group. Positive attitudes towards both Lula and
19


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