Article

Studies in Comparative International Development

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 124-160

Democracy in Spain: Legitimacy, discontent, and disaffection

  • José Ramón Montero
  • , Richard Gunther
  • , Mariano Torcal

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Abstract

This article examines changes in perceptions of democracy in Spain over the last two decades. A variety of empirical indicators gleaned from numerous surveys are used to distinguish between democratic legitimacy and political discontent, as well as between this (which includes the well-known indicator of dissatisfaction with the way democracy works) and political disaffection. The article traces the different ways in which these attitudes have evolved in Spain over the last twenty years, and demonstrates that they belong to different dimensions. It also includes the results of two tests showing that these two sets of attitudes are conceptually and empirically distinct: a factor analysis confirms the distinct clustering of the indicators at the, individual level, whilst cohort analysis identifies different patterns of continuity and change across generations.