Print version ISSN 0104-6276
BRAGA, Maria do Socorro Sousa and PIMENTEL JR, Jairo. Os partidos políticos brasileiros realmente não importam?. Opin. Publica [online]. 2011, vol.17, n.2, pp. 271-303. ISSN 0104-6276. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-62762011000200001.
For decades the conventional wisdom in Brazil has been that political parties do not matter in explaining the behavior of Brazilian voters. However, this scenario of low partisan identification contrasts with the observation that, at least for presidential elections, electoral competition has been structured around two party organizations: those of the PT and PSDB. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that, even if parties are in fact not internalized in terms of party identification, we are witnessing an important division between two principal political organizations in terms of party preference, reflecting the emergence of a bipartisan system at the national level. On the basis of responses of interviewees about the presidential elections in the CSES-ESEB of 2002, 2006, and 2010, we see that in these elections the electoral affinities for the PT and PSDB are some of the principle components of an explanation of the vote. This article also emphasizes that despite the fact that party preference is more pronounced as a means of candidate selection for those with a high degree of education, it is possible to observe that even among those with less education this variable is fundamental to explain the vote, providing evidence that even for voters with less knowledge of politics, the parties are helping to structure the voting decision.
Keywords : political parties; electoral behavior; presidential elections; party sympathy; CSES-ESEB2010.