Efforts to do comparative research on political attitudes have been complicated by varying understandings of “democracy.” The Afrobarometer is exploring new techniques to overcome this difficulty.
Once hailed as liberators, Zimbabwe’s ruling party now clings to power through violent repression. How did the country’s founding father become its dictator, and what patterns in his party’s past foretold such an outcome?
Do young democracies have to "deliver the goods" economically in order to win political legitimacy in their citizens' eyes? Public opinion data from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Arab world suggest some fascinating answers.
Survey data indicate that Africans support democracy and its formal institutions, but also point to the importance of the informal realm, particularly when formal institutions fail to meet popular expectations.
Surveys show that Africans' commitment to democracy fades over time, but also that their support can be refreshed by alternations in power via elections.
Although Africa is a latecomer to democratization, Africans overwhelmingly support democracy, and their conception of democracy is surprisingly liberal.
The early 1990s saw a wave of competitive multiparty elections in Africa. These contests can be described as "founding" elections in the sense that they marked for various countries a transition from an extended period of authoritarian rule to fledgling democratic government. By the middle of the 1990s, this wave had crested. Although founding elections continued to be conducted in African countries that were latecomers to the political-reform bandwagon, they took place less frequently than earlier in the decade.