Diffuse and specific regime support in times of crisis: voters' assessments of democracy in Portugal, before and after the bailout (2008-2012)
VII Congresso da Associação Portuguesa de Ciência Política
Since the third wave of democratization in the 1970s and 1980s, the democratic system in Europe lives under a singular paradox. On the one hand, the expansion of democracy to various European countries and regions, and the triumphalism of the democratic regime; on the other hand, since the 1990s, the debate on the crisis of democratic legitimacy, which has emphasized the growing gap between those who govern and those who are governed. This latest situation has become particularly critical and problematic in the case of the countries of Southern Europe, with sovereign debt crises, external intervention by the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF. The new social and economic scenario that has emerged raises questions on its impact on democratic regime support. Using a relevant case study - Portugal - this paper firstly aims to descriptively analyze how voters assess the Portuguese democracy (diffuse and specific support) before and after the economic crisis; secondly, to explore if there have been significant changes in the models of explanation of regime support throughout this period; and finally, to explore its political consequences. Findings suggest that support for democracy has decreased in Europe, and in particular specific support in Portugal. The explicative models of regime support are rather similar in both years, although reflecting the crisis in 2012, and the consequences of the crisis are more acute regarding diffuse regime support.
diffuse and specific support, democracy