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Losers' ConsentElections and Democratic Legitimacy$

Christopher J. Anderson, André Blais, Shaun Bowler, Todd Donovan, and Ola Listhaug

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199276382.001.0001

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(p.195) Appendix: Data Sources and Survey Items

(p.195) Appendix: Data Sources and Survey Items

Source:
Losers' Consent
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

The data used in this book come from several survey projects, including the Eurobarometer (EB) surveys (various years), the 1996 International Social Survey Program (ISSP) surveys conducted as part of a study called Role of Government III; the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) election surveys conducted between 1996 and 2000; the 1999 European Values Surveys (EVS), which are part of a larger project on World values, as well as the American and Canadian National Election studies surveys, which have been conducted for a number of years. These survey programs are continuing regular programs of surveys covering topics important to social science research. The ISSP, CSES, and EVS jointly develop modules dealing with important areas in the social sciences, and they usually field these modules in supplements to national surveys undertaken by the members. All surveys usually include an extensive common core on background variables, and project members make the data available to the social science community. The Eurobarometer data are collected twice a year by the European Commission and made available to the scholarly community via data archives, including the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. Additional data used in our analyses come from a variety of stand-alone surveys, including surveys conducted by news organization (such as CBS News) and the authors.

CHAPTER 3

Evaluations of political system performance. ‘All in all, how well or badly do you think the system of democracy in (country) works these days?’ It works well and needs no changes (4), it works well but needs some changes (3), it does not work well and needs a lot of changes (2), it does not work well and needs to be completely changed (1).

External political efficacy (system responsiveness). Average of four items derived from two internal efficacy items and two external efficacy items that range from 1 to 5, with 1 denoting strongly agree and 5 strongly disagree. Question wording: ‘How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements: (a) People like me have no say about what the government does; (b) The average citizen has considerable influence on politics; (c) Elections (p.196) are a good way of making governments aware of the important issues facing our country; (d) People we elect as members of parliament try to keep the promises they made in the election’. Respondents' answers were coded such that five constituted the most efficacious response.

Protest potential. Based on factor scores of five survey items. Question wording: ‘Would you or would you not do any of the following to protest against a government action you strongly oppose?’ (a) Attend a public meeting organized to protest against the government; (b) go on a protest march or demonstration. Respondents could choose from definitely would (scored 4), probably would (3), probably would not (2), and definitely would not (1). In addition, respondents were asked: ‘There are many ways people or organizations can protest against a government action they strongly oppose. Please show which one you think should be allowed and which one should not be allowed’. (a) Organizing public meetings to protest against the government; (b) organizing protest marches and demonstrations; and (c) organizing a nationwide strike of all workers against the government. Respondents could choose from definitely allowed (4), probably allowed (3), probably not allowed (2), and definitely not allowed (1).

Difference in evaluations of current political system versus previous regime. (Items were coded such that high values mean positive political support.) ‘People have different views about the system for governing this country. Here is a scale for rating how well things are going: 1 means very bad, 10 means very good. Where on this scale would you put the political system as it was …’

in former communist countries: under communist regime

in countries where recently a change of regime xx has taken place: under xx regime

in countries where no regime change has taken place: ten years ago?

Confidence in parliament.‘How much confidence do you have in parliament, is it a great deal, quite a lot, not very much or none at all?’ A great deal (4); quite a lot (3); not very much (2); none at all (1).

Support for democratic principles.Additive index of the following items:

  1. 1. ‘Would you say that having a democratic political system is a very good, fairly good, fairly bad or very bad way of governing this country?’ Very good (4); fairly good (3); fairly bad (2); very bad (1).

  2. 2. ‘Could you please tell me if you agree strongly, agree, disagree, or disagree strongly?’ Democracy may have problems but it's better than any other form of government. Agree strongly (4); agree (3); disagree (2); disagree strongly (1).

  3. 3. ‘I'm going to read off some things that people sometimes say about a democratic political system. Could you please tell me if you agree strongly, (p.197) agree, disagree or disagree strongly, after I read each of them?’ Agree strongly (1); agree (2); disagree (3); disagree strongly (4).

    • In a democracy, the economic system runs badly

    • Democracies are indecisive and have too much squabbling

    • Democracies aren't good at maintaining order.

  4. 4. ‘I'm going to describe various types of political systems and ask what you think about each as a way of governing this country. For each one, would you say it is a very good, fairly good, fairly bad or very bad way of governing this country?’ Very good (1); fairly good (2); fairly bad (3); very bad (4).

    • Having a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament and elections?

    • Having experts, not government, make decisions according to what they think is best for the country?

    • Having the army rule the country?

CHAPTER 4

Satisfaction with democracy. ‘On the whole, are you very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied, or not at all satisfied with the way democracy works in your country?’

Trust in government. ‘Generally speaking, can the [federal] government, that is, the government in Washington DC, be trusted to do the right thing?’ Just about always (4); most of the time (3); only some of the time (2); never (1).

CHAPTER 5

Partisan attachment. ‘Do you feel very close to this (party/party block), somewhat close, or not very close?’ Very close; somewhat close; not very close.

Ideology. ‘In politics people sometimes talk of left and right. Where would you place yourself on a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 means the left and 10 means the right?’

CHAPTER 6

Difference in evaluations of current political system versus previous regime. See Chapter 3.

Confidence in parliament. See Chapter 3.

Support for democratic principles. See Chapter 3.

Old communists. (See chapter Appendix 6A.1 for list of reformed communist parties.) Voting for an old communist party (1); voting for other any other party (0).

(p.198) Reformed communists. (See chapter Appendix 6A.1 for list of reformed communist parties.) Voting for a reformed communist party (1); voting for other any other party (0).

CHAPTER 7

Veto players. Number of parties in government (range: 1–6).

Veto players squared. Square of veto players measure.

Federalism. Dummy variable, where 1 if Austria, Belgium, Germany, or Spain.

New Democracy. Dummy variable, where 1 if Portugal, Spain, Greece, East Germany.

Electoral system. List proportional representation (PR) with closed list (Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden) (1); PR with preferential system (Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain) (2); PR with voting for individual candidates (Greece, Germany) (3); individual districts (France, Ireland, Italy, and UK) (4).

Satisfaction with democracy. ‘On the whole, are you very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied, or not at all satisfied with the way democracy works in NAME OF COUNTRY?’ Very satisfied (4); fairly satisfied (3); not very satisfied (2); not at all satisfied (1).

Confidence in parliament. ‘To what extent can you rely on your National Parliament?’ Ten point scale, ranging from ‘cannot’ (1) to ‘can’ (10).

Confidence in national government. ‘To what extent can you rely on your National Government?’ Ten point scale, ranging from ‘cannot’ (1) to ‘can’ (10).

Trust in state government. ‘How often do you trust [your] state government?’ Always (1); mostly (2); sometimes (3); never (4).

CHAPTER 8

Satisfaction with democracy. See Chapter 4.

Fairness of the electoral process. ‘In some countries, people believe their elections are conducted fairly. In other countries, people believe that their elections are conducted unfairly. Thinking of the last election in (country), where would you place it on this scale of one to five, where ONE means that the last election was conducted fairly and FIVE means that the election was conducted unfairly?’

Responsiveness of the political system. Additive index based on three items. (1) ‘Some people say that members of Parliament know what ordinary people think. Others say that members of Parliament don't know much about what ordinary people think. Using the (one to five) scale, where would you place yourself?’; (2) ‘Some people say that political parties in (country) care what ordinary people think. Others say that political parties in (country) don't care (p.199) what ordinary people think. Using the (one to five) scale, where would you place yourself?’; (3) ‘Some people say it makes a difference who is in power. Others say that it does not make a difference who is in power. Using the (one to five) scale, where would you place yourself?’

CHAPTER 9

Efficacy. Additive index of two items. (1) ‘People like me don't have any say about what the government does’; (2) ‘Elections are a good way of making the government pay attention to the important political issues facing our country’. Answer categories included: strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, and strongly disagree, with 4 denoting a more efficacious attitude.

Proportional representation to elect Congress. ‘Some people suggest we should use proportional representation to elect Congress. This would probably mean that three or more parties would be represented in Congress. Would you support such a proposal?’ Yes (1); no (0) (Table 9.3).

Direct election of President. ‘When it comes to electing the President, some suggest we get rid of the Electoral College and simply elect the candidate who most people voted for. Would you support or oppose such a proposal?’ Yes (1); no (0) (Table 9.3).

Support for constitutional change (US). ‘Presidents are elected by the Electoral College, in which each state gets as many votes as it has members of Congress and can cast all of them for whoever wins in that state. Do you think we should keep the Electoral College, or should we amend the Constitution?’ Amend the Constitution (1); other answer (0) (Table 9.4).

Support for Prop. 198 in California. ‘As you know Prop. 198 would create a single primary election ballot on which the names and party affiliations of all candidates would be placed. Candidates' names would not be grouped by political party. Any registered voter, including those not affiliated with a political party, would be able to vote for any candidate regardless of party. If the election were being held today, would you vote yes or no on Proposition 198?’ Yes (1); no (0).