A model of electoral behavior at the local level in Mexico: Party identification, candidate image and retrospective evaluations

Date of Completion

January 2000


Psychology, Social|Political Science, General




This study addresses the relative strength of party identification, comparative candidate images and retrospective evaluations as electoral determinants of the vote in Mexico. It seeks to disentangle the simultaneous influences among these variables, in particular, the cognitive process of projection of partisan predispositions on other political perceptions. To understand the mental process that derives in the vote decision, a structural equations model with latent variables was specified. Using cross-sectional surveys, the model was tested in two different moments of the 1999 Quintana Roo gubernatorial campaign, at the beginning and close to its end. This election resembles an electoral dynamic observed in the presidential elections of 1994 and 1988, as well as in half of the gubernatorial elections of the last six years. ^ By the end of the last century, economic crises and the liberalization of the electoral system derived in the PRI losing the absolute majority of the electoral preferences. The interplay of party identification for the three main parties, candidate comparisons and retrospective evaluations, allowed this party to keep the relative majority at the national level and in numerous local elections. ^