Trajectories of fear and hope: Support for democracy in post-communist Europe

William Mishler, Richard Rose

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Abstract

Prospects for the successful consolidation of democracy in post-Communist Europe hinge substantially on the trajectory and determinants of popular support. Surveys in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania demonstrate that public support for post-Communist regimes is higher on average than support for the former Communist regimes. However, there is less support for the new economic systems in comparison with the former planned economies. Among the determinants of increased support, economic hopes (prospective evaluations) have consistently greater influence than evaluations of the current or past economic conditions or than social structure characteristics. Lingering fears of the old regime are important sources of support for current regimes as well. Because the majority of East Europeans expect future economic conditions to improve rapidly, support for the new regime is expected to remain stable or increase with time. Even making "worst case" assumptions that fears of communism will fade and economic hopes will be frustrated, support for the new regimes should remain positive for the foreseeable future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-581
Number of pages29
JournalComparative Political Studies
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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