Abstract

This paper investigates a class‐based explanation for recent movement toward democratization in Mexico. By comparing public opinion polls taken in 1959 and 1991, it finds an increased acceptance of democratization among higher socio‐economic status (SES) respondents. In 1959, higher SES Mexicans expressed a greater fear of the consequences of opposition party governance than did lower SES Mexicans, an effect that disappeared by 1991. In light of the long‐standing Mexican fear of political and social instability, and the claim of the former ruling party (the PRI) as the guarantor of stability, this paper discusses how this attitudinal change may have played a role in facilitating democratic reform.

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