The “Alteration Effect” in Africa

Issue Date October 2004
Volume 15
Issue 4
Page Numbers 147-158
file Print
external View Citation

There are signs of an incipient electoral pattern in the evolution of public opinion in Africa's new democracies. At first, following founding elections, the popular mood is buoyant. With time, however, declines are observed in mass demands for democracy and perceptions that democracy is being supplied. These declines can be largely offset, and popular faith in democratization restored, however, if a country undergoes a peaceful electoral alternation in which power passes from one ruling party to another. This essay uses data from two Afrobarometer surveys to conduct a preliminary test of these trends.