The disenchanted voter: Emotional attachment, social stratification, and mediated politics in Mexico's 2006 presidential election

Sallie Hughes, Manuel Alejandro Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


This study of micro-level political decision making responds to an initially perplexing phenomenon that appeared in the 2006 Mexican presidential election, what the authors call the disenchanted voter. The authors found that participants in their longitudinal, qualitative study expressed extreme dissatisfaction with politics, politicians, and the outcomes of a young democracy yet voiced enthusiasm for voting. Checks after the ballot revealed they actually did vote. In this article, the authors argue that this unlikely constellation is explained by participants' emotional appraisals of mediated campaign messages about a polarizing presidential candidate. Grounded in an individual's class position, emotional appraisal of this candidate generated fear in wealthy participants and hope in poorer participants. The coping mechanism, or "secondary assessment" of the candidate, was the firm decision to vote. Based on these findings, the authors propose a model of disenchanted voting that integrates research on emotional appraisal and the social construction of emotions with election salience and personal political efficacy. These findings may be of use in economically polarized democracies beyond Mexico. However, the authors question whether long-term polarizing political discourse is a viable antidote to disenchantment with the uneven economic and social justice outcomes of Latin American democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-375
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009



  • Emotional appraisal
  • Emotions and voting
  • Mediated campaigning
  • Mexico
  • Voter turnout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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