The Americas: When Do Voters Support Power Grabs?

Issue Date April 2021
Volume 32
Issue 2
Page Numbers 116–31
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This article examines the nature of democratic fragilities in the Americas through survey experiments in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Encouragingly, strong majorities of citizens recognize violations of democratic principles, laws, and norms. Moreover, how incumbents justify antidemocratic actions has little impact on how citizens view them. Yet there are minorities, ranging from 10 to 35 percent of the population, who support efforts to erode democracy. And partisanship matters: Many individuals are seemingly “conditional democrats” who support antidemocratic actions if they voted for the incumbent. People are also reluctant to support impeachment for democratic violations, which creates an opening that would-be authoritarians can exploit.

About the Authors

Michael Albertus

Michael Albertus is associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago.

View all work by Michael Albertus

Guy Grossman

Guy Grossman is professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania.

View all work by Guy Grossman