2022 elections: violent crime is central theme of public debate

In June, the number of posts mentioning violent crime grew more than 50%, further increasing this dominance.
Public Policy
04 August 2022
2022 elections: violent crime is central theme of public debate

Corruption was the central theme of the last electoral cycle, but in 2022 it has been progressively replaced by debate on law and order. In July, more than 20% of public statements made by the two main presidential contenders, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro, were about this subject. These are among the findings of a new study by Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Department of Public Policy Analysis (FGV DAPP) about electoral discussions in 2022.

Between January 1 and July 18, 2022, the right and left were tied in terms of the number of profiles on social media, but Bolsonaro’s supporters represented 53% of interactions. Supporters of centrist candidates accounted for just 6.2% of profiles mentioning law and order, the elections and presidential candidates in this period.

Violent crime dominated debate about law and order throughout this period. In June, the number of posts mentioning violent crime grew more than 50%, further increasing this dominance.

The increased debate about violent crime was strongly associated with the mobilization of Bolsonaro supporters, who criticized statements made by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva about his participation in negotiations to release businessman Abílio Diniz during a kidnapping that took place in 1989.

FGV DAPP looked at the following five areas:

1) It produced a map of interactions, seeking to identify the number of Twitter posts about violent crime and their political leanings;

2) It produced a line graph and bar chart showing changes in mentions across different law and order subtopics, identifying a surge in posts about violent crime in June;

3) FGV DAPP then analyzed mentions of presidential candidates associated with violent crime. There were sharp increases in mentions of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro;

4) FGV DAPP then looked in more depth at public statements made by the two leading candidates and produced word clouds to capture differences in their messages since the beginning of the year;

5) Finally, FGV DAPP analyzed the Facebook posts with the most interactions in different periods of this year.

To see the complete study, visit FGV DAPP’s website.

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