Opinião Pública – Vol. 21, Nº 3 2015
Articles in this issue
Abstract The electoral costs of "Bolsa Família": reassessing its impact on the 2006 presidential election The geographic pattern of Lula's vote swings between 2002 and 2006 presidential elections is one of the most intriguing political phenomenon of Brazilian recent history. Several studies show that the program "Bolsa Família" increased considerably Lula's support among the poor, having a crucial role on the 2006 electoral results. In this article, I analyze a municipal-level data set and use spatial econometrics techniques to show that Lula's electoral performance is also negatively associated with the proportion of the rich. My claim is that the program explains both effects: the poor responded to improvements in their material living conditions and the rich responded to opportunity costs of public investments that did not benefit them directly.
Much has been said about the role of "Bolsa Família" in the Presidential election of Lula in 2006 and the change of his voter profile. However, little has been said about the effects of Lula’s support and "Bolsa Família" on Dilma’s electoral performance in the 2010 Presidential elections. Using a spatial econometrics’s approach in this paper we evaluate the importance of these (and other) factors on Dilma and her opponents’ electoral performance in the 1st round of 2010 elections. It is interesting to understand what factors had more weight on her previous election and how this can be seen in the light of the current scenario. Aggregated data at the municipality level are used in the analysis, considering variables such as candidates’ share of total votes and socioeconomics indicators (per capita income, proportion of beneficiaries of "Bolsa Família", percentage of poor, rate of illiteracy, among others). The results indicate a decisive participation of former President Lula and the Bolsa Família Program. Even controlling for Lula’s share of votes in the previous election, the "Bolsa Família" Program remains significant for Dilma’s election. The Lula’s effects, however, was larger than the one found for the Program. It is worth noting that this results in line with the one indicated by Zucco (2013), in the sense that the "Bolsa Família" shows positive short run electoral effects, helping the incumbent party, but shows no long run effects, with the loyalties to parties and/or persons.
This article explores the role of ideology (left and right) in the Brazilian mass electorate. Specifically, we are interested in examining how ideology constrains the political preferences of Brazilians. Or, said differently, this article explores if Brazilians make use of ideology to structure their political preferences. Using data from the Brazilian Electoral Study Collection (Eseb), we find that many Brazilian voters do not place themselves on a left-right ideological scale when asked to. Moreover, among those voters that place themselves on a left-right ideological scale, we find that ideology does not structure their political preferences. In other words, ideology does not constrain political preferences. To be sure, the notions of left and right do not mean much for the Brazilian electorate.
Formation of preferences is a question largely ignored by political science. Politics is seen just as a space to aggregate prior preferences. Liberalism justifies the refusal of a critique of preferences production by the idea that each person is the best judge of their own preferences. If we do not accept this, we are falling into paternalism, in which the autonomy of the agent is threatened by the idea that an outside observer will be able to identify their "true" preferences even against her expressed will. My argument here is that the anti-paternalistic position is correct in principle but shifts the discussion. The main obstacle to autonomous preference formation is not paternalism, but domination. Individuals and groups have difficulties to formulate and express their autonomous preferences when they are subject to relations of domination.
This article analyzes the relationship between relative deprivation and political participation in protests in Brazil, seeking to understand the specific role of the widening of the horizon of possibilities for contesting political activism. The relative deprivation is here understood as "the result of a perception of needs, comparing to others that don't have them, needs that should not exist or that may disappear" (Santos, 2006, p. 148). The gap between the social place one occupies and the level a person assesses that can be reached intensifies when there is expansion of the horizon of possibilities, in other words, the perception that this progression in living conditions is feasible. The larger the gap, the greater the likelihood of engaging in protests (Gurr, 1971). Using Americas Barometer 2012 survey, it was found that the expansion of the horizon of possibilities is in fact related to activism in protests, supporting the hypothesis that the relative deprivation, in the recent history of Brazil, has important influence on political activism.
This article proposes a method to measure the capacity of policy conferences to influence the making of policies, by incorporating the proposals approved in the participatory forums. Once the approved proposals are both suggestions of the organizing department and new guidelines emerged from the conference process, this article assesses the degree of incorporation of both kinds of proposals separately and names the real influence of the policy conferences as the proportion of new proposals incorporated over the total. This analysis is employed for the 1 st Conference of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Urban Policies, Environment, Sports, Women's Policies and Policies to Promote Racial Equality and shows the conferences have served as informational forums of new policies.
Twenty-five years after the promulgation of the 1988 Constitution, which itself initiated a new pattern of intergovernmental relations in Brazil, a question can be asked: was this new institutional design able to foster good governments at the level of the municipalities? We consider as good governments the administrations presenting fiscal balance in their public accounts. We analyze the fiscal balance for about all Brazilian municipalities (2010) by means of the Firjan Index of Fiscal Management (IFGF) released by the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Firjan). These data suggest that the municipalities yield considerably different fiscal results. Given a 0 to 1 scale, we detected municipalities with critically low fiscal management, with an index close to 0, and municipalities with excellent fiscal management, with an index close to 1. In average, the Brazilian municipalities presented an index slightly above 0.5. In order to explain such variations, we tested political and management variables with data from the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). It was observed for a set of different variables that the level of fiscal balance is related to levels of political competition and electoral participation, as well as to the educational degree of direct administration personnel in the analyzed municipalities.
This article examines how political parties incorporate environmental issues in their party programs. The methodology consisted in monitoring the websites of political parties, with a mapping of the strategies used in relation to the environmental agenda. The survey was conducted in the period August-September 2014, during the election campaign. Of the 32 parties registered with the Electoral Court, 20 incorporate environmental themes into their websites (62.5%), through four main strategies: inclusion of the issue in the party program, creating the websites nucleus to environmental issue, offering online courses in environmental education and dissemination of environmental news. Four profiles of environmental governance are identified: preservationists, developmental, critical of capitalism and systemic ecologists. In all profiles, the state plays a central role as an actor of environmental policies proposed by parties. The wide partisan adherence to ecological issues shows that the green agenda has become established and a political issue transparty theme, beyond the left x right divide.