What characterizes the dynamics of presidential popularity? Research based on the United States of America finds popularity exhibits an almost law-like cyclicality over a president’s term: high post-election “honeymoon” approval rates deteriorate before experiencing an end-of-term boost as new elections approach. We contend that cyclical approval dynamics are not specific to the USA, but rather characteristic of presidential systems more generally, despite heterogeneity in their socio-economic and political contexts. Testing this proposition requires overcoming a key empirical problem: lack of comparable data. We do so by employing time-series inputs from 324 opinion surveys from a new publicly available database—the Executive Approval Database 1.0—to craft quarterly measures of popularity across 18 Latin American contemporary presidential democracies. Our analysis strongly confirms the cyclical approval model for the region. The conclusion identifies avenues for future research on the relationships across approval, presidentialism, and electoral, institutional, and socio-economic factors afforded by the new data resource we present here.
Ryan E. Carlin, Jonathan Hartlyn, Timothy Hellwig, Gregory J. Love, Cecilia Martínez-Gallardo, and Matthew M. Singer. 2018. “Public Support for Latin American Presidents: The Cyclical Model in Comparative Perspective.” Research & Politics 5(3) DOI: 10.1177/2053168018787690