#138419 | AsPredicted

'Populist Authoritarianism: Left, Right, and Center'
(AsPredicted #138419)

Created:       07/14/2023 08:13 AM (PT)

This is an anonymized version of the pre-registration.  It was created by the author(s) to use during peer-review.
A non-anonymized version (containing author names) should be made available by the authors when the work it supports is made public.

1) Have any data been collected for this study already?
No, no data have been collected for this study yet.

2) What's the main question being asked or hypothesis being tested in this study?
The goal of this study is to examine heterogeneity in citizens' commitment to democratic principles by their i) left, center, or right political orientation; ii) populist or mainstream political tendencies.

With respect to i), we will examine:
a) whether there are differences in commitment to democracy on the left versus the center versus the right. The latter categorization will be based on: policy preferences, party preferences, and general ideology questions (direct questions about trade-offs between political freedom and economic equality/law and order).
b) whether the sources of those differences are because the three subgroups
--- 1. trade-off democracy for different policy preferences (i.e. the left for leftist policies; the right for rightist policies; the center for centrist policies);
--- 2. trade-off democracy for different policy priorities (i.e. the left for leftist economic policies (redistribution); the right for rightist social policies (law and order, abortion);
--- 3.differ in their partisan loyalties (i.e. punish D- positions less when it is adopted by their favored party);
--- 4.care about different aspects of democracy (electoral competitiveness, checks and balances, civil liberties)
c)We will explore whether centrists (on policy, partisanship) act as a moderating, pro-democratic force (i.e. they punish D- positions more than those on the left or right).

With respect to ii), we will examine whether there are differences in commitment to democracy between mainstream versus populist voters. This distinction will be measured/estimated via:
a) Two pre-measured populist batteries (our own, plus the Akkermann et al. 2014 scale);
b) Pre-measured preference for 1) populist version of each policy; 2) populist parties;
c) Different rates of punishment for "regular" versus "populist" D- positions.

3) Describe the key dependent variable(s) specifying how they will be measured.
We use a candidate-choice survey experiment with two dependent variables: candidate choice and turnout propensity. To measure the latter, in addition to choosing a preferred candidate, each respondent will also indicate whether he would turn out to vote, on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 stands for "Definitely not" and 10 for "Definitely yes".

We will define turnout propensity using different thresholds to measure "turning out". Doing so will allow us to explore whether our results are sensitive to different turnout thresholds. As robustness, we will also assess (1) if there are any differences in the propensity to turn out between mainstream versus populist voters and (2) whether these potential differences are driven by the populist policy and D- positions.

This yields three main DVs: candidate preference, turnout propensity, and a categorical vote choice/abstention outcome (combining the information about candidate preference and turnout propensity).

4) How many and which conditions will participants be assigned to?
Each respondent will be presented with 12 candidate choices organized in two sets of 6 choices with a break in between. The experimentally manipulated attributes are the candidate's political party (50% of the time), 2 policies, and 1 democracy position.

The political party attribute is drawn from a list composed of the 5 most-voted parties in the last elections for each country case in which the experiment is fielded. The policy positions are randomly selected from 3 different issue areas: economic issues (i.e., redistribution and taxing foreign capital), social issues (i.e., abortion and tough-on-crime policies) and valence issues (i.e., unemployment and crime). Each set of policies span across a single ideological dimension (left, center, right) and have both mainstream and populist version in each domain (from both the left and the right).

Lastly, the democracy attribute is randomly chosen from a list of (D+) democratically neutral (e.g., "Served on a committee that approves proposed changes to legislative procedures") and (D-) undemocratic positions (e.g., "If we win, we will replace judges that have ruled against our party"). The undemocratic positions capture violations of different democratic principles (electoral competitiveness, checks and balances, civil liberties) and have both a mainstream and populist version.

In the first set of choices, we assign 3 out of 6 scenarios to the D+ v. D+ condition. In this condition, each pair of candidates have two D+ positions drawn with replacement. The other 3 choice scenarios are in the D- v. D+ condition (with D- being presented at random on the left versus right). In the second set of choices, the scenarios are identical but the democracy attribute is switched for each condition (e.g., if a scenario was in the D+ v. D+ condition, then one candidate will be assigned a D- position with all the other attributes unchanged).

5) Specify exactly which analyses you will conduct to examine the main question/hypothesis.
We will run linear probability (main analysis) and logit (structural estimation, prediction) models to estimate the effect of the D- treatments (pooled and separately) on our DVs (candidate preference, turnout propensity). Standard errors will be clustered at the level of the respondent. We will conduct both across-subject and within-subject comparisons (the latter is a key feature of our design that allows us to infer the effect of D- positions on turnout, in addition to vote choice.)

Our main analysis will explore heterogeneity in the effect of the D- treatments on our DVs by two groups of premeasured respondent-level covariates: i) left-right political orientation; ii) populist tendency. See above for details. Heterogeneous effects by these respondent characteristics will be estimated via the conventional interaction with the treatment indicator approach and by simple subsetting.

6) Describe exactly how outliers will be defined and handled, and your precise rule(s) for excluding observations.
We will examine the robustness of our findings by whether a respondent passed each of the two attention checks embedded in the survey.

7) How many observations will be collected or what will determine sample size?
No need to justify decision, but be precise about exactly how the number will be determined.

The intended sample size is about 7000 respondents, 1000 for each of the country cases included in the study (i.e., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru). Each respondent will make 12 candidate choices, resulting in 84,000 choices in total.

8) Anything else you would like to pre-register?
(e.g., secondary analyses, variables collected for exploratory purposes, unusual analyses planned?)

Svolik would like to pre-register the use of the survey data collected here in two other ongoing projects (for which data from other regions have already been collected and analyzed):

1) Who (Really) Supports Democracy: this study examines heterogeneity in punishment for D- positions by ALL pre-measured respondent-level characteristics.
2) Support for Democracy, Attitudinal versus Revealed Preference Measures: this study examines heterogeneity in punishment for D- positions by ALL pre-measured conventional support for democracy questions.

These two studies will be pre-registered separately.