Black and poor women may decide who will be the next president of Brazil
Women are going to decide whether a candidate is going to win next year in Brazil, thanks to the first large-scale election campaign in the country since the military-backed Dilma Rousseff won re-election. Women voters have long been an under-served minority in Brazil, as the political system is structured to keep them unrepresented. A recent study found that women are underrepresented by a ratio of about 4 to 1.
A poll released this week in the newspaper Último Dia found that 70 percent of those surveyed in one of Brazil’s most populous states, Goiás, plan to vote for a female candidate for governor, attorney general, state senate or state congress. Women voters in Goiás were more likely to say they will vote for a female candidate (68 percent) than men (58 percent). The same is true in other states where the poll was conducted during the month of September, such as Mato Grosso, Maranhao and Pernambuco. At least 70 percent of women surveyed in these states said they intend to vote for a female candidate, compared to 56 percent of men.
Women were also most likely to vote for a woman in their state congress or state senate (84 percent). In other words, it seems that women voters are motivated not only by their own ideals, but by those of the candidates running in their state and that of their own communities. As in Goiás, they are also more likely to vote for male candidates than for female candidates.
Part of the explanation is that women voters are more likely to be young, have higher levels of education and come from poorer families. In the Goiás poll, for example, the most educated group were more likely to vote for a female candidate, while the poorest group were more likely to vote for a male candidate. Similarly, women voters, who make up the majority in Goiás, were more likely to go to university than men (59 versus 42 percent), which likely explains why they were far more likely to vote for the female candidates they