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Democracy and Electoral Alternation: Evolving African Attitudes

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Are Africans' attitudes to democracy enduring or ephemeral? (e.g. Round 1 Afrobarometer ... Note: Results for Ghana and Botswana exclude 'don't knows. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Democracy and Electoral Alternation: Evolving African Attitudes


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Democracy and Electoral AlternationEvolving
African Attitudes
  • Afrobarometer Briefing Paper No. 9

3
Research Question Are Africans attitudes to de
mocracy enduring or ephemeral?
(e.g. Round 1 Afrobarometer established that 69
percent of Africans interviewed prefer democracy
to other forms of government).
Argument Based on Round 2, we find that democrati
c commitments are not fixed they tend to decl
ine with the passage of time they can be refre
shed by an electoral alternation of power
4
Inferring Trends We prefer to have at least t
hree observations over time. A trend line based
on three or more data points helps to avoid
faulty inferences based on volatile shifts in n
ewly formed attitudes momentary blips within l
onger term trends mere measurement errors
Since only two observations are available for
Round 2, we only consider changes of 10
percentage points or more. margin of sampli
ng error for one survey is /- 3 percent
margin of sampling error for two surveys is
/- 6 percent other measurement errors are p
resent therefore, select a conservative crit
erion
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Data Differences in observed values between Af
robarometer Round 1 (12 countries), July
1999-October 2001 Afrobarometer Round 2 (15 coun
tries), June 2002-October 2003
Attitudes to Democracy On the demand side supp
ort for democracy rejection of authoritarian r
ule On the supply side satisfaction with democ
racy estimates of democracys extent
7
Which of these statements is closest to your own
opinion? A Democracy is preferable to any other
kind of government B. In some circumstances, a
non-democratic government can be preferable C.
For someone like me, it doesnt matter what kind
of government we have.
8
Note Results for Ghana and Botswana exclude
dont knows. Indicates a change of 10 percent
age points or more.

9
There are many ways to govern a country. Would
you approve or disapprove of the following
alternatives? A. The army comes in to govern the
country B. Elections and parliament are
abolished so that the president
can decide everything C. Only one political
party is allowed to stand for election and hold
office.
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Overall, how satisfied are you with the way
democracy works in (your country)?
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Note Results for Ghana and Botswana exclude
dont knows. Indicates a change of 10 percent
age points or more.

13
In your opinion, how much of a democracy is (your
country) today? Is it A. A full democracy
B. A democracy, but with minor problems C. A
democracy with major problems D. Not a
democracy?
14
Note Results for Ghana and Botswana exclude
dont knows. Indicates a change of 10 percent
age points or more.

15
The Alternation Effect Huntingtons test two
turnovers the consolidation of democracy
Our modified hypothesis in the public imaginat
ion, an electoral alternation of ruling parties
helps to legitimize democracy Test months el
apsed since the last electoral alternation
by change in support for democracy -.492
change in rejection of authoritarianism -.174
change in satisfaction with democracy -.081
change in perceived extent of
democracy -.665
16
Pearsons R correlation -.665, significance
.031 (2-tailed)
17
Conclusions Public opinion in Africa appears to
follow an electoral cycle. At first, multipart
y transitions boost democratic sentiments, even
in the absence of alternation.
The bad news is that democratic commitments deca
y (often in response to disappointing government
performance or to ruling parties that overstay
their welcome). The good news is that democrati
c legitimacy can be renewed (either by improved
performance or, in its absence by the replacement
of under-performing governments at the polls).
18
For More Informationwww.afrobarometer.org
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