19 Nov

Although Covas and Paes are in the lead, performance of the left wing mobilizes debate about the second round of the elections on Twitter

Updated 7 de December, 2020 at 11:15 am

  • The PSDB and DEM candidates confirmed expectations, but did not engage discussions on the network, which is focusing on the left wing in the capitals and on Crivella in Rio;
  • In São Paulo, a peak of engagement happened in reaction to the performance of the left and right wings, with Boulos (PSOL) and Russomanno (Republicanos), in the first round.
  • The votes received by the current mayor of Rio mobilized the right-wing group and caused surprise, mobilizing a debate in the left-wing group about supporting Eduardo Paes; 
  • In Recife and Porto Alegre, the digital debate was also focused mostly on the presence of the PCdoB and PT candidates in the second round against MDB and PSB.

An analysis by FGV DAPP about the electoral debate on Twitter after the definition of the candidates running for the second round in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Porto Alegre indicates that, despite the confirmation of victories in the first round for Bruno Covas (PSDB) and Eduardo Paes (DEM), the engagement came from the left-wing group for a more intense debate since Sunday (15), as well as the performance of the current mayor of Rio, Marcelo Crivella (Rep). 

Evolution of the debate about the municipal elections in major capitals
November 15 to 18, 2020

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

In São Paulo, the growth of the opposition candidate Guilherme Boulos (PSOL) attracted most of the attention from both political fields, including the right wing represented by Celso Russomanno (Republicanos). In Rio de Janeiro, Paes’s leadership and mayor Marcelo Crivella’s (Republicanos) advance into the second round, as well as the absence of a left-wing candidate, were predominant topics. In Recife and Porto Alegre, the debate was also focused mostly on the possibilities represented by the candidacies of Manuela D’Ávilla (PCdoB) and Marília Arraes (PT), who are running against Sebastião Melo (MDB) and João Campos (PSB), respectively.

The highlights included accusations of fraud in the voting machines, intensified by the delay in the vote count by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), as well as negative comments against candidates who reached the second round (particularly Boulos and Crivella), and also the increase in representativeness in the City Councils, a topic which got a lot of attention from Twitter users.

In São Paulo, the first debate and declarations of support were the main topics

A survey by FGV DAPP found almost 735.4 thousand mentions on Twitter between Sunday (15) at 5 p.m. and Wednesday (18) at midday regarding the municipal elections in São Paulo. At the moment of most engagement, with 39.2 thousand posts at 11 p.m. On Sunday (15) – minutes after the announcement of the election results –, the debate was marked by optimistic demonstrations due to the advance of Boulos (PSOL) into the second round and comments about Rusomanno’s defeat. The confirmation of Covas in first place confirmed expectations and did not generate a lot of engagement about the candidate.

Map of interactions of the debate about the municipal elections on Twitter
November 15 to 18, 2020

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

A second peak of mobilization, which had 27 thousand mentions at 9 p.m. on Monday (16), saw comments about the debate between Covas and Boulos which happened that night in the news channel CNN. There was also a lot of repercussion about demonstrations of support made by public actors and digital influencers such as @lulaoficial, @felipeneto and @bslvra for the PSOL candidate, mobilizing both supporters and critics.

Blue group
Representing 26.4% of the profiles and 38.4% of the interactions, this group was focused on Russomanno, the candidate supported by the right-wing group and by President Jair Bolsonaro. Composed of supporters of the federal government, the group questioned the election results – which meant Russomanno’s defeat –, claiming that there was fraud in the electoral process. The suspicions intensified due to the announcement of a failure in the vote counting system, which, according to the Superior Electoral Courte (TSE), delayed the count.

Green Group
Also composed of profiles aligned with the right-wing (but with no clear political alignment) and representing 3.8% of the profiles and 2.7% of the interactions, this group shared claims that groups related to Boulos allegedly invaded properties and damaged public property, reinforcing the accusations that he is a radical candidate. The profiles also criticized past administrations run by left-wing politicians. Covas was not a highlight in this group given the low level of engagement he generated.

Pink group
Composed of the left-wing partisan group, representing 464% of the profiles and 46.7% of the interactions, and including @lulaoficial, @guilhermeboulos, @samiabomfim, @dilmabr and @flaviodino, this group mentioned the connection between Covas and the governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), and with Russomanno, and intensified their campaign to support Boulos.

Yellow Group
A group composed of digital influencers and profiles aligned with the left-wing, with 18.6% of the profiles and 9.7% of the interactions, but no direct partisan association. The group made sarcastic comments about the allegations that Boulos is a radical candidate, attributed to Covas during a debate, and made memes about the popular claims that the candidate often invades properties.

In Rio de Janeiro, mobilization cools down after definition of the first round

In the same period, FGV DAPP found more than 149.9 thousand posts referring to the electoral race in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The debate was intense only during the night of the election day (15), reaching a volume of 22.8 thousand mentions at 11 p.m. In this period, the leading position of Paes was also not a surprise (therefore generating low engagement), leading a large part of the posts to address the advance of mayor Marcelo Crivella (Republicanos) into the second round of the elections. The result led part of the left-wing group to discuss the possibility of supporting Paes.

Another topic attracting attentions in the debate this period was the result of the elections for the City Council. While the election of the city councilor Tarcísio Motta (PSOL) with the most votes in Rio generated a lot of comments, the second and third positions achieved by Carlos Bolsonaro (Republicamos) and Gabriel Monteiro (PSD) divided opinions.

Map of interactions of the debate about the municipal elections in Rio
November 15 to 18, 2020


Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Green Group
With 10.4% of the profiles and 12.3% of the interactions in this debate, the group following Crivella in the electoral race commented on the suspicions of election fraud in the Rio elections as well. However, some profiles say the advance of the mayor – who is officially supported by the President – into the second round as a response to the argument held by the opposition that the support for Bolsonaro is losing strength in major cities. In addition, the debate included the imprisonment of the blogger @oswaldojor on Tuesday (17), who is a supporter of Boslonaro and promoter of the thesis of #fraudenaseleições (election fraud).

Pink group
Responsible for 36.8% of the profiles and 32.1% of the interactions, this group is formed by celebrities and digital influencers such as @anitta, @naosalvo and @goldorayo, who shared memes about the chances of a double election of Paes and Boulos and made sarcastic comments about the insistence to vote for Crivella, which attracted a large part of the criticism in this group this week.

Red group
With 51.3% of the profiles and 11.3% of the interactions, this group lamented the absence of a left-wing candidate in the second round and discussed the possibility of encouraging left-wing electors in Rio to migrate their votes to Paes in the second round, seeking to defeat Crivella.

Yellow Group
With 30.7% of the profiles and 39.4% of the interactions, this group is composed of opposition politicians and digital influencers such as @felipeneto, @dasilvabenedita, @gduvivier, @renatasouzario and @alessandromolon. The group lamented Crivella’s advance into the second round and reinforced the need to defeat him, a narrative which has been favoring Paes despite his relatively low engagement.

In Recife and Porto Alegre, Marília and Manuela lead the debate

Also according to FGV DAPP, between Sunday night and Wednesday morning, the municipal elections in Porto Alegre were the subject of 69,200 Twitter posts. Most of the comments were based on the news that Manuela D’Ávila (PCdoB) advanced into the second round in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, despite her performance below what was predicted by the polls. Similar to São Paulo and Rio, her opponent, the former vice mayor Sebastião Melo (MDB), did not mobilize a lot digital engagement.

To a large extent, mobilized by the official profile @manueladavila, the debate was marked by posts made by several national political figures declaring their support for the candidate – such as the former senator and minister @marinasilva (Rede Sustentabilidade), the president of PDT, @carloslupipdt; the former candidate for mayor of Porto Alegre @fernandapsol (PSOL); and the former candidate for mayor of Rio de Janeiro @dasilvabenedita (PT).

LAstly, the analysis identified 28.5 thousand posts that made some forms of reference to the municipal elections in Recife. Following the debate in São Paulo and Porto Alegre, the debate in the capital of Pernambuco highlighted the advance of the candidate Marília Arraes (PT) into the second round. Her opponent, João Campos (PSB), despite leading in the first round, did not mobilize a lot of engagement. And critics of Marília, in part, were also quite unhappy with the fact that Campos is the congresswoman’s opponent in the second round.