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Revista Brasileira de Ciência Política

versão impressa ISSN 0103-3352


PEREIRA, Frederico Batista. The stability and effectiveness of partisan preferences in Brazil. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Polít. [online]. 2014, n.13, pp.213-244. ISSN 0103-3352.

This article uses panel survey data from Caxias do Sul (RS) and Juiz de Fora (MG) in 2002 to assess to what extent partisanship constitutes a stable and effective political orientation for Brazilian voters. The analysis in the article focuses on respondents who support the Workers' Party. The main question is whether party identification can actually be considered a cause of vote choice in the Brazilian multi-party system. In order to answer this question, two competing perspectives are examined. The first perspective argues that, even though partisanship is restricted to a small proportion of the Brazilian electorate, it is a strong orientation among those voters who express it. The second perspective argues that partisanship is mostly an unstable orientation that acquires salience only during electoral periods, and due in large part to campaign effects and the influence of candidates. The results show that almost half of the party preferences that are reported in the electoral period are exclusively a result of the salience of the presidential election, and that partisan identification tends to disappear when the race is over. Moreover, unstable partisans tend to vote less frequently for their preferred party in elections than stable partisans. Finally, it is shown that unstable partisans tend to present lower levels of political involvement and sophistication than stable partisans.

Palavras-chave : party preference; voting behavior; parties; elections.

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