Abstract: In just two decades China has risen from insignificance to dominance in many Latin American markets where the United States had been a quasi-monopolist for two centuries. The political salience of these two powers, then, has also changed. This paper uses mass and legislator-level surveys to analyze how Latin America’s populace and its legislators view the traditional and new powers, plus a qualitative comparative analysis in its explanation. The analysis emphasizes representation, querying whether there is cohesion among legislators and voters, and congruence between these two levels, with reference to either or both of the geopolitical rivals. The paper finds many examples of cohesion with reference to one or more of the powers and among one or the other levels of analysis, but fewer examples of congruence. Further, the data show that in most cases parties provide positive views about both the United States and China, suggesting that while the rivals themselves have potential political salience, the geopolitical rivalry is less of a concern than are economics and cultural ties.
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