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Political Preferences and Individual Choice: A Latin American’s Countries Perspective

Regina Carla Madalozzo, Afonso Mariutti Chebib


Analyzing the “left” and “right” political positions of individuals is challenging because personal attributes may influence political decisions without directly causing them. This issue may be even more pronounced in Latin America, where young democracies encounter the challenge of stabilizing political choices over time. This study contributes to the literature by analyzing the influence of personal attributes on political choices, focusing on the early 2000s, when the “left” turn occurred. The present study relies on the World Values Survey’s fifth wave (2005-2008) to fulfil this objective. This dataset is composed of data that have been collected globally, and the questions are related to diverse subjects associated with the quality of life of individuals. From the available sample, we included all of the Latin American countries that participated in this wave: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. In this study, the aim is to directly understand the impact of these individuals own attributes on their declared self-positioning about the political leaning. To this aim, an ordered logit model was used to analyse how each variable exerts influence on the political leaning of the respondents. Our results found that political cleavages depend on demographic factors, economic factors, and individual opinions in agreement with previous studies. Increased age, religious service attendance, and satisfaction with one’s financial life increase the tendency of individuals for self-positioning to the right of the political spectrum. The possession of a university degree and residence in a large city increases the likelihood of individuals of self-identifying with a leftist political position. This study contributes to the literature by analysing the influence of personal attributes on political choices. Although this research represents an important step toward understanding political leanings in Latin American countries, a significant amount of future research remains. The definitions of “left” and “right” continue to be unclear as they relate to dimensions that include democracy, autocracy, and political reform. Understanding the ways individuals set up their choices would increase the responsibility of political parties and authorities for the hidden claim the population has about their deliverables. At the same time, studies like ours may enhance the awareness of the general impression over political party choices of candidates. Finally, even with so many confounding aspects in this antagonist position, the left and the right continue to be a simple way to characterize veiled assumptions. Therefore, it may be an ambiguous form of defining choices, but this seemingly binary choice is still very significant for voters in Latin America. 

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