the beauty of democracy

Image: Storishh


Considerations on polls and ballot box democracy

On the tense eve of the first round of the 2022 election, it is necessary to resort to the emotional support of companions, to combat insomnia and depression. They are provoked by news of armed attacks by people who are intolerant of political differences or divergences. In this sense, humor is key.

Against the continuous, almost daily, dissemination of scientifically based research, an ignorant subject announces that he does not accept his expected defeat in the counting of votes because of his sample… visual! He argues: at all his rallies, he sees many supporters…

The defender of “Datapovo” questions: “Datafolha interviewed 6.754 voters throughout Brazil, distributed in 343 municipalities, but Brazil has more than 5.600!” In response, he was suggested: “when you go for your next blood test, ask to take all your blood…”.

Electoral poll analysis requires some subtlety regarding data overlaps. For example, in the eagerness for reelection (and investigative immunity), he leads the rejection among candidates for the Presidency of the Republic: 52% would not vote for the current president at all, indicates Datafolha on September 22, 2022.

Someone can argue that former president Lula's rejection rate (39%) is higher compared to the rejection of third place (24%) and fourth (15%). Now, Lula is the only one to manage to have a positive balance in the intention – rejection difference: 45% to 38% or +7 percentage points.

All other candidates have a voter deficit. The most rejected is voted for by 33%, but has a rejection of 53%. Given his deficit of -20 percentage points, he lacks at least a tenth of the 156 million voters (+1) to stop rejecting him and start admiring him. Difficult, right?

However, Ciro Gomes, proportionally, has the worst deficit. His rejection (24%) is four times his voting intention (6%): – 18 pp. Even Simone Tebet has triple rejection (15%) in relation to voting intentions (5%): – 10 pp.

IPEC (formerly IBOPE) carried out a survey, about a year ago (from September 16 to 20, 2021), to identify the voting intentions of some of the possible candidates for the next presidential election and to monitor the assessment of the Government administration Federal. The sampling model used was that of clusters in 3 stages.

In the first stage, the municipalities were selected, probabilistically, using the PPT (Probability Proportional to Size) method, based on the population aged 16 or over in each municipality. In the second stage, clusters were selected: census tracts. Finally, in the third stage, a fixed number of inhabitants was selected from each cluster according to variable quotas: gender, age groups, education, race/color, activity. The data sources for preparing the sample were the 2010 Census and the 2019 PNADC.

Note that quotas in income, religion and political party preferences were not selected. The latter is only considered by Datafolha. And the first (income) is only taken into account by Quaest, when choosing the quotas for residential interviews, although it underestimates the proportion below 2 minimum wages: 38%. Datafolha deduces that there are 51% in this income range, considering the voters interviewed in sex and age quotas at the drawn flow points.

In the aforementioned survey from a year ago, IPEC asked whether, regardless of their intention to vote for president, the respondent thought: Lula should be elected (45% supported), the current president should be re-elected (only 19%), another should to be elected (31%). This animated the so-called Third Way, but it should have a single candidate and he would only attack the most rejected to reach the second round.

Unfortunately, the personalism of the “owner-of-the-truth” and “savior-of-the-country”, only against the majority of voters and parties, ended up making his campaign a comedy of errors. It justifies, then, the useful vote being rational on the part of its former potential voters.

These methodological “subtleties” of overlapping cause astonishment in laypeople. For example, the electoral poll shows Lula with a majority preference among those who negatively evaluate the current government administration (80%); among the inhabitants of the Northeast (62%); among families with a monthly income of one minimum wage (57%); in households where at least one person receives aid from the federal government (55%); among people with primary education (55%); among Catholics (54%); among those who are neither Catholic nor Evangelical or have no religion (56%); between blacks and browns (51%); among inhabitants in municipalities with up to 50 inhabitants (52%); among women (51%) compared to men (45%).

In the Sample Profile, these voters are the majority: female (52%), young people from 16 to 34 years old (34%), with high school education (47%), up to 2 minimum wages (51%), in the PEA (71 %), brown and black (55%), Catholics (54%), inhabitants of capitals and other metropolitan regions (41%), Southeast (43%) and Northeast (27%), PT (27%). Homosexuals (3%) and bisexuals (3%) are in the minority, but these 6% massively reject the intolerant “evangelical” (sic).

This, in turn, only goes better among those who think it is a (false) myth, that is, its management is great or good (84%); among evangelicals (50%); among people whose family income exceeds 5 minimum wages (44%). The problem for him is that they are a minority: evangelicals without subdivisions make up only 25% and the richest 12%. Other beliefs or hostile atheists make up 21% of the electorate and reject it. The poorest (below 5 minimum wages) are 88% of voters – and, overlappingly, they reject it!

Therein lies the beauty of electoral democracy: the power of the majority of poor people to impose their will on those intolerant of diversity and tolerant of inequality. Against it, the instinctive human animal praises only the paternal power, coming from nature, and exercised by the protection of its children, even in cases of wrongdoing.

Worse when, accidentally, ascends to the Executive Branch. A holder of despotic power is imagined, where he always creates a false antagonism, to associate himself with a fierce armed base, defend “the friends” and fight “the enemies”.

Above reason, to serve the tyrant's interest, military logic adopts the binary division between "strong" and "weak" based on violence. It is based on the possession of weapons to exercise physical force as a coercive power, assumed to be the objective reality.

However, against this, democracy erects ideological power, distinguishing between the wise and the ignorant. The wise were before the priests, they became intellectuals who did not deny science. Possession of wisdom exercises the power of ideas as a cohesive power to create a consensual reality, in accordance with the national will.

Political power, acting in the interest of those governed, occurs only in the right forms of government. In addicts, power is only exercised for the benefit of rulers.

This political power of collective actions differs from parental power and despotic power because it is based on democratic consensus. It refutes the current (mis)government, aimed only at the interests of the ruling clan.

In this Brazilian election, a new pact is being formed for conciliation and national cohesion, including for improving the currently poor international image of the country. The elitism, formerly characteristic of the alliance of the ruling aristocrats caste with the snobbish savants' subcaste, is being overcome once and for all.

Neoliberalism itself, defending only market freedom instead of defending the rights of citizens, including minorities, must be overcome. Just as he is expected to take along, to the “trash of history”, physiologism, nepotism, favoritism, corporatist amicism and armamentism as a governmental practice.

Legitimate populism occurs when the people, composed of “outcasts” or socially excluded, establish a direct connection with a labor leadership. This left-wing populism does aim at meeting a broad social demand.

It is the opposite of right-wing populism, which adopts conservatism in the name of “its people”. The personality cult of the ignorant myth corresponds to the populist authoritarian tradition, where authoritarianism is the coercion imposed by the warrior-military caste.

In defense of democracy, against the military-militia coup, even the merchant caste, which is habitually corrupting all others, needs to act, even if it is ultimately in favor of their private commercial interests. International isolation will affect all foreign affairs and, internally, the brain drain will mean a greater educational, scientific and technological setback for the country.

Finally, the majority of the Brazilian electorate no longer accepts the military logic, installed once again in the Planalto Palace, with its violence, in search of revenge against opponents, transformed into enemies. This should not be seen as courage, not even as glory. The beauty of democracy is to comply with the will of this wise majority.

*Fernando Nogueira da Costa He is a full professor at the Institute of Economics at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of Support and enrichment network. Available in


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