Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

The democratic routine

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on December 2, 2010

by The Economist, December 2nd, 2010.

Resilience in the crisis and a robust recovery have brought a sunnier mood.

Support for democracy in Latin America continues to edge up, as does backing for private enterprise. Crime has become a bigger worry than unemployment. And Brazil is seen as more influential than the United States across much of the region. Those are some of the findings of the latest Latinobarómetro poll taken in 18 countries and published exclusively by The Economist. Because the poll has been taken regularly since 1995, it tracks changes in attitude across the region.

Two related things stand out in the results of this year’s poll, taken in September and early October. The first is Latin America’s fairly sunny mood. The second is the increasing stability of attitudes towards democracy and its core institutions. Support for democracy has risen noticeably in several countries on the Pacific rim of South America. For example in Peru, where economic growth has averaged 6% a year since 2002, support for democracy has risen from a low of 40% in 2005 to 61% this year. It also rose in Mexico, where the economy has recovered after suffering a big drop in output last year.

But only around half of respondents in Mexico and Brazil, the region’s two most populous countries, are convinced democrats, which drags down the regional average (see chart 2). Some 44% of respondents across the region pronounced themselves satisfied with how their country’s democracy works in practice, the same figure as last year but a big increase on the 25% in 2001 (chart 3). Some 34% said they had confidence in their country’s Congress and 45% in their government, the same as last year in both cases but up sharply from 2003 (17% and 24% respectively). (continue reading… )


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