Is there significant erosion of political system support in Portugal? A longitudinal and comparative analysis (2000–10)

Conceição Pequito Teixeira*, Paulo de Almeida Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we study how Portuguese citizens see and assess the democratic regime in a longitudinal and comparative perspective. This individual-level study is based on the assumption that mass attitudes have a clear and direct impact on politics, especially on democratic polities. Inspired by the original theoretical and conceptual Easton’s framework, developed and reformulated later by other authors (Norris, Kinglemann and Dalton), we explore the multidimensional perspective of the concept of political support, its levels and components. Building on a wide range of national and cross-national survey indicators for evidence, concerning both the Portuguese case and some European countries included in the fifth wave of the World Values Survey, we analyse and try understanding the longitudinal trends concerning each political system’s dimensions or components. The main objective of this article is to find out to what extent it is possible to speak of an erosion of Portuguese citizens’ support for the political system during the last decade, and if there has been to discern its nature, cumulative effects and magnitude. The time series analysis allowed us to conclude that the hypothesis of a crisis of legitimacy in Portugal during this period must be rejected. Thus, what seems to be contested in Portugal, as in other European democracies, are the political objects that comprise a more specific level of support, including regime performance, regime institutions and political actors, due to an increasing level of frustration of accumulated unfulfilled expectations of democracy processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-160
Number of pages26
JournalPortuguese Journal of Social Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Democratic regime
  • Institutional trust
  • Political support
  • Portugal
  • Satisfaction with democracy


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