Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Evolution of Brazilian Democracy: Unveiling Election Dynamics in Political Issues, Negativity, and Acclaim

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Abstract:  In recent years, Brazil, as the world’s fourth-largest democracy, witnessed the dominance of polarized and symbolically charged electoral campaigns on social media, culminating in the election of a populist political figure in 2018 and his subsequent defeat in 2022. Extensive research has indicated that political campaigns often sidelined substantive policy proposals in favor of negative and divisive issues. However, a critical gap remains in the absence of temporal investigations contrasting the prevalence of negativity and acclaim campaigns on social media platforms during elections. This study addresses this gap by examining associations between political issues and negative and acclaim campaigns across two Brazilian electoral campaigns. Drawing upon a sample of messages posted on Twitter (n = 1,191) during the presidential elections of 2018 and 2022, our study reveals associations between substantive political issues, such as education and health, and acclaim campaign strategies, while the divisive issues of Covid-19 and corruption are associated with negative campaign strategies. Moreover, the results suggest that gender policy is related to both acclaim and negative messages since it is a polarizing issue in Brazilian politics. Our study also shows an increased negativity trend, with the 2022 presidential election campaign more likely to be negative than in 2018. By conducting a temporal analysis of Brazil’s political context, our study sheds light on the evolving dynamics of political communication in the age of social media, contributing substantially to the literature on negativity in political campaigns.

Keywords:  acclaim; Brazil; elections; negativity; presidential elections; political communication; social media

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.8060


© Isabella Gonçalves, Mathias-Felipe de-Lima-Santos, Vicente Fenoll, Yossi David. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.