The Brazilian Electoral Study (BES), a post-electoral national survey for academic purposes, has been undertaken by CESOP since 2002, under the coordination of Prof. Rachel Meneguello. The BES is a project associated with the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems Project (CSES) coordinated by the University of Michigan (www.cses.org); it counts on the participation of dozens of institutions from various countries. The CSES project has as its general premise the idea that the socio-political contexts and, in particular, the institutional arrangements which govern electoral dynamics, affect the nature and quality of the democratic choice. The project aims to identify how contextual variables, especially institutions, shape the beliefs and behaviors of citizens and, by means of elections, define the capacity or quality of the democratic regime. It also pursues an understanding of the nature of social and political alignments and cleavages, and of how citizens, living under different political arrangements, assess political processes and democratic institutions.
The general premise of the CSES supports the construction of its successive modules, which have specific theoretical orientations based on the discussions developed among the members of the International Planning Committee of the CSES, of which the CESOP has been a member since 2009.
In addition to applying the common core of the issues of the CSES project, the BES covers issues related to aspects proper to Brazilian political functioning, elaborated by the researchers of the CESOP in collaboration with researchers from several Brazilian and international universities. The BES aims to establish in the academic sphere of the country a tradition of systematic studies, which analyze longitudinally the political behavior of Brazilian voters and contribute to the improvement of survey measures for the study of representative democracy and of political behavior. The research advances studies of political culture that shaped the production of theoretical and methodological knowledge in the area of electoral and political behavior in Brazil—developed by research centers such as IDESP, IUPERJ, and CEDEC since the 1970s.