In the mood for democracy? Democratic support as thermostatic opinion

Claassen, C. (2020) In the mood for democracy? Democratic support as thermostatic opinion. American Political Science Review, 114(1), pp. 36-53. (doi: 10.1017/S0003055419000558)

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Abstract

Public support has long been thought crucial for the vitality and survival of democracy. Existing research has argued that democracy also creates its own demand: through early-years socialization and later-life learning, the presence of a democratic system coupled with the passage of time produces widespread public support for democracy. Using new panel measures of democratic mood varying over 135 countries and up to 30 years, this article finds little evidence for such a positive feedback effect of democracy on support. Instead, it demonstrates a negative thermostatic effect: increases in democracy depress democratic mood, while decreases cheer it. Moreover, it is increases in the liberal, counter-majoritarian aspects of democracy, not the majoritarian, electoral aspects that provoke this backlash from citizens. These novel results challenge existing research on support for democracy, but also reconcile this research with the literature on macro-opinion.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Claassen, Dr Christopher
Authors: Claassen, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:American Political Science Review
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0003-0554
ISSN (Online):1537-5943
Published Online:20 September 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 American Political Science Association
First Published:First published in American Political Science Review 114(1):36-53
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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