The PT and the Evangelical Party

Image: David Buchi


Considerations on the importance of evangelicals in elections

Is the Workers' Party (PT) equal and opposite to the Evangelicals' Party (PE)? Are they two political parties in the sense of being instruments for collective actions in search of republican power in a constitutionally secular State?

They had the same number of supporters, according to the previous Datafolha, however, the Evangelical Party had fewer workers and more believers among the 10% richest in monthly family income in Brazil. In the survey carried out on August 18, 2022, there was an increase in the number of voters supporting the PT to 42,2 million compared to 39,1 million believers. But 1/5 of the evangelicals are supporters of the Workers' Party.

If the PT has more than ¼ of sympathetic voters and the “non-party” make up half of the entire electorate, each PT must convince one of them.

The Evangelical Parliamentary Front of the National Congress, on April 17, 2019, had 202 deputies and 9 senators. It had deputies from 19 parties, including 4 from the PT, proving to occupy various institutional spaces.

Although called evangelical, it includes parliamentarians with Catholic faith, spiritist or even those who do not assume any religion. The Liberal Party (PL), the current party of the passing president, has the greatest representation, with 42 parliamentarians. The Republicans, linked to the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD), and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), come in sequence, with 29 and 28 signatories, respectively.

Among these “evangelical parties (sic)” – supporters of Tchutchuca do Centrão –, only the PL has 3% of supporters (4,7 million voters), in contrast to the 27% or 42,2 million voters who support PT. When considering “believers” stricto sensu, that is, supporters of the Protestant faith, the percentages of the Evangelical Party and the PT in the two lowest income ranges up to 5 minimum wages were close, in the previous survey, with a supremacy of one or two percentage points of the poorest PT members.

The fact that the PT has preference over the groups of the total with less education and income, respectively, 34% against 31% with elementary education and 62% against 51% below 2 minimum wages, in the new Datafolha survey, provides much more voters as a starting point vis-à-vis the other parties. These 25,5 million supporters with less “cradle luck” have a decisive weight in favoritism for Lula’s election on October 2, 2022.

In this regard, it is interesting to compare this new profile of the Datafolha sample (51% below 2 minimum wages) with other surveys. At IPEC (formerly IBOPE), in its sample of 2.000 respondents, 1.112 or 56% represented this low-income bracket. The PT had 41% of preference among those with income up to one minimum wage and 31% between one and two.

QUAEST shows in its sample profile 38% below 2 minimum wages, that is, 15 percentage points below DataFolha and 18 of IPEC. In contrast, their social stratification by family income (and not individual workers as one would expect to identify voters) places 40% between 2 and 5 minimum wages and 22% above 5 minimum wages. The relative shares in these two income ranges considered by DataFolha, 33% and 10%, respectively, are closer to the average monthly income data from the PNADC of the IBGE.

IPEC considers 25% in the range [2-5 SM] and 13% in those above 5 minimum wages. The BTG-Pactual FSB survey (done by telephone) has as family income ranges 43% up to 2 minimum wages, 39% in the range [2-5 SM] and 17% above 5 minimum wages.

Percentage residuals are explained as respondent “does not know” or “refuses to inform”. In any case, the profiles of the electoral poll samples seem to be quite arbitrary as they are not standardized based on official data.

Even worse concerns the data on the number of evangelical believers. There has been no Demographic Census in Brazil for 12 years! Who knows?!

DataFolha's sample profile represents them as 25% of all religious and atheists. In the IPEC sample they are 27,6%. It's similar to the participation in the Quaest survey: 27%. They contrast with 23% of evangelicals in the FSB survey by BTG-Pactual.

Despite these differences, the latter shows the candidate married to the evangelical fanatic with 49% of the evangelicals' preferences against 30% opting for Janja's husband, that is, 19 percentage points over 23% would give a 4,4% difference in favorable believer voters to the defender of armaments, violence and death. Isn't it contradictory to religious belief?!

The latest Datafolha survey found that Lula would now have 32% of the votes of evangelicals and 47% of the total preference. In the case of the rival, to avoid “already leaving”, support among evangelicals rises to 49% and among the general public, 32%. Evangelicals seem to live in a world parallel to that of non-evangelicals, one is the opposite of the other: the former wants to discuss (conservative) customs in an electoral debate to choose the president of the Republic.

Non-believers need to defend the secular State (non-religious and tolerant of all religions and atheism), while the relevant debate would be about the Nation project. At stake is the continuity or not of fiscalist neoliberalism, the cause of four decades of economic stagnation. No wonder the poorest workers support the social-developmentalist program, tested and approved between 2003 and 2014, to resume economic growth, sustained in the long term, with job and income generation, in addition to active social policy.

Many pastors of the tithe-paying flock preach, in their temples, the vote for a subject with a pseudo-religious electoral discourse, but in fact only a defender of his political clan and the interests of his military caste. To lead to self-deception, he resorts to the struggle of good against evil, conflict with materialists, promiscuity and the devil. In this Manichaeism of “imprisonment theology”, it goes against all theological precepts, including against the purification of evil in itself – and not in another.

Paradoxically, due to the economic agenda (income), poor evangelicals would be very likely to vote for Lula. Immigrants from rural areas (or descendants of those expelled due to the lack of agrarian reform and mechanization of agriculture) with low education and conservative values, in large cities, they are shocked by violence, vices and the agenda of identity struggles (feminism, anti homophobia and individual freedom to dispose of one's own body) of the new left - and still do not realize the anti-racist struggle and gun-averse pacifism to be found within them.

However, the PT is the party with more evangelical supporters than any other: 19% or 8 million. Next comes the PL, party of Tchutchuca do Centrão, with 1,7 million believers. The PT has around 24,5 million Catholic supporters.

In this “religious struggle”, in which the 2022 presidential election is being transformed, instead of a public debate on future economic and social conditions, contemplating the last three weeks, the DataFolha poll showed unfavorable differences to Lula in the lower middle class ( less one million votes in the range of 2 to 5 minimum wages) and in the evangelicals (391 thousand less votes), practically offset by the gain of 829 thousand votes in the range of up to 2 minimum wages and 329 thousand above 10 minimum wages.

Differences were favorable to the unspeakable, in the last 3 weeks, except in the low income class and in the “others”, that is, atheists and adherents of other religions besides Catholic and Evangelical.

Despite this, all polls persist – as has been the case for over a year – in pointing to Lula's victory, perhaps already in the first round. DataFolha 47% to 32%; IPEC 44% to 32%; Quaest 45% to 33%; BTG-Pactual 45% to 34%: these percentages are very close.

After all, the evangelical militancy of the Workers' Party can narrate the myth of the need for suffering to achieve redemption, so dear to Christians. Once the “witch hunt” of 2018 was over, after having sacrificed himself in an imprisonment that proved to be unfair, Lula would have suffered, died politically and been resurrected to open the way to earthly happiness for Brazilians. The captain uses God – and God uses Lula!

*Fernando Nogueira da Costa He is a full professor at the Institute of Economics at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of Liberalism versus leftism.


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