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Knowing Left from Right: Ideological Thinking in the 2002 and 2006 Brazilian Presidential Elections
Unformatted Document Text:  of ideology through education, their childhood social milieu, and newspapers. People lacking such advantages may learn similar lessons through conversations with the people they see regularly. As a result, ideological thinking might grow over time. Finally, what have we learned about the meaning and content of leftism in Brazil? First, ideological thinking matters. Models of leftism that ignore the many people who fail to identify with any ideological position will be plagued by selection bias. And even among people who report an ideology, leftism means very different things to those at the top and the bottom of the ideological thinking scale. If ideological position were entirely random for non-ideologues, a failure to model leftism as contingent on ideological thinking would introduce measurement error but not bias coefficients. But choice of an ideological position is not completely random among the least ideological. Among this group support for Lula and democracy lead to lower levels of reported leftism. This coincides with Carreirão’s finding that among those with zero years of education, the correlation between self-identified ideological position and reported vote intention goes in the wrong direction. Moreover, sociodemographic cleavages affect how non- ideologues place themselves, with women more likely to call themselves leftists and older people less likely. Among the highly ideological, the situation is very different. Leftism is strongly tied to support for Lula, tolerance for social disorder, and pro-democracy attitudes. The last result suggests that the left is still associated with opposition to military rule. At the same time, though, the analysis also shows that there are few social cleavages beyond education among the highly ideological. With respect to other social and economic policies, the story is more complicated. Singer concluded that traditional economic concerns, those regarding state control of the economy or economic equality, have little impact on leftism. Singer’s explanation stresses 21

Authors: Smith, Amy.
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of ideology through education, their childhood social milieu, and newspapers. People lacking
such advantages may learn similar lessons through conversations with the people they see
regularly. As a result, ideological thinking might grow over time.
Finally, what have we learned about the meaning and content of leftism in Brazil? First,
ideological thinking matters. Models of leftism that ignore the many people who fail to identify
with any ideological position will be plagued by selection bias. And even among people who
report an ideology, leftism means very different things to those at the top and the bottom of the
ideological thinking scale. If ideological position were entirely random for non-ideologues, a
failure to model leftism as contingent on ideological thinking would introduce measurement
error but not bias coefficients. But choice of an ideological position is not completely random
among the least ideological. Among this group support for Lula and democracy lead to lower
levels of reported leftism. This coincides with Carreirão’s finding that among those with zero
years of education, the correlation between self-identified ideological position and reported vote
intention goes in the wrong direction. Moreover, sociodemographic cleavages affect how non-
ideologues place themselves, with women more likely to call themselves leftists and older people
less likely.
Among the highly ideological, the situation is very different. Leftism is strongly tied to
support for Lula, tolerance for social disorder, and pro-democracy attitudes. The last result
suggests that the left is still associated with opposition to military rule. At the same time,
though, the analysis also shows that there are few social cleavages beyond education among the
highly ideological. With respect to other social and economic policies, the story is more
complicated. Singer concluded that traditional economic concerns, those regarding state control
of the economy or economic equality, have little impact on leftism. Singer’s explanation stresses
21


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