30 Sep

On social networks, Ciro Gomes gets closer to bolsonarism with anti-PT and violent speech

by Sul 21

Por Duda Romagna

Updated 21 de October, 2022 at 11:17 am

On Twitter, while some voters abandon the PDT candidate, others move from the center left to the right wing


On Monday morning (26), Ciro Gomes, candidate for the presidency of the Republic for the Democratic Labor Party (PDT), denied that he would give up his candidacy and attacked, again, rivals Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) and Jair Bolsonaro (PL), in a statement to the press. “My candidacy stands to defend Brazil under any circumstances. And my name continues as a firm and legitimate option to free our country from a cowardly present and a frightening future”, he declared, confronting the movement of colleagues, voters, and influencers who are calling for his resignation in order to transfer votes to Lula so there won’t be a second round of voting.

In the last weeks before the election Sunday, October 2, Ciro raised the anti-PT discourse in the social networks and ignored poll results that indicate minimal probabilities that his candidacy will take him to the second round. In the Ipec survey released on the same Monday of his pronouncement, the PDT candidate fell one percentage point in relation to the last survey and got 6% of voting intentions.

Data obtained by the report through the Trendsmap social network monitoring platform show that, from September 12 to 19, 546 thousand tweets were published discussing Ciro Gomes’ name, but the cluster – groups with similar interests – of his supporters remained in balance between the groups that support Lula and Bolsonaro.



Visualization of clusters in graph generated by Gephi software. Monitoring from September 12 to 19


In the week of September 19 to 26, the number of posts discussing Ciro and his candidacy increased by about 93%, totaling just over one million tweets. At the same time, people who have historically supported the PDT candidate have declared their vote for Lula, to ensure Bolsonaro’s defeat in the first round. A wave that displeased Ciro’s most faithful supporters. His speech became more aggressive and the result was a greater proximity to the pro-Bolsonaro cluster.

During the last debate of the presidential candidates before the election, on TV Globo, Ciro’s approach stayed the same, with reflections in the discussion on Twitter. Ciro had, during yesterday’s day, about 95% of the mentions of the whole week from September 12 to 19, with 518.1 thousand tweets. At the beginning of the debate, when he chose Lula to answer, he got up to 12.4 thousand mentions per minute, but this does not translate into positive engagement. The post with the most interaction was from comedian Paulo Vieira.



Visualization of clusters in graph generated by Gephi software. Comparison of dates



For Airton Araújo, political scientist and director of the Frente Negra Gaúcha, Ciro’s behavior is not surprising. “We should remember that in the last presidential election, in 2018, he did not want to support the PT candidate in the second round to defeat Bolsonaro and traveled to Paris. He is a strong-tempered politician, who often doesn’t know how to make that calculation of politics, of costs and benefits, where you lose today to win tomorrow.”

In his analysis, Ciro’s electorate that migrates to Lula, in the “useful vote” strategy, is the one “surfing on the center left”. “This electorate would not like Lula, but would like a policy that is more identified with the progressive field, favorable to social rights, human rights, the environment, etc.,” he explains. Names like Caetano Veloso, Fábio Porchat, and Felipe Neto stand out. “Maybe they are not abandoning Ciro’s political project, but postponing it so that it is possible to avoid the second round and a contest in which they would not like the other competitor to win.”

“What surprises me most is PDT letting itself be carried away by this wave of violence. PT, it is worth remembering, is an expert of Leonel Brizola’s laborism, and Brizola, even with all the differences he had with Lula, in critical moments and movements of political crisis supported these two political lines, the two parties”, Airton concludes, citing the historical leader of Ciro’s party.

In the second period analyzed, the publication that got more interactions citing Ciro Gomes was an attack on former president Lula, made by a Bolsonaro supporter. In the replies to this tweet, the most used hashtags were #bolsonaronoprimeiroturno22 (Bolsonaro in first round 22), #ptnuncamais (PT never again), #lulaladraoseulugarenaprisao (Lula thief, your place is in prison) and #bolsonaronoprimeiroturno (Bolsonaro in first round).



Augusto de Oliveira, also a political scientist and PUCRS professor, analyzes the current situation as atypical, when there is a clear chance of a decision in the first round. The circumstance that there is no second round changes the sharing of politicians and their voters. “With the performance of Lula’s candidacy, communicating to voters that he is willing to win in the first round, which is a possibility according to the electoral polls, the voter begins to make a very logical and very rational calculation”, he evaluates.

Regarding the “useful vote”, the researcher explains a possible scenario. “If I prefer, for example, Ciro and my second preference is Lula, will my desire to anticipate the election overcome that difference between my preference between Ciro and Lula? As this movement is very close to the voting, the election becomes a decision that anticipates the behavior that would be expected in the second round, and for the voter who already knows that he has a preference to vote for Lula against Bolsonaro, the tendency is that he migrates to Lula, because his vote for Ciro Gomes wouldn’t be productive, it wouldn’t be of any use, its only use would be to show some kind of resistance to Lula’s name”, the professor analyzes.

“Ciro, in the last few days, although he has been doing this since the beginning of the campaign, raises the tone in relation to Lula’s candidacy and tries to make an equivalence between Lula and Bolsonaro. This strategy brings Ciro and Bolsonaro closer together, and the objectives of both end up being compatible, to avoid Lula’s victory in the first round. This helps to understand why this movement of proximity between the manifestations of the two groups on the social network occurs. That could be done in other ways.”



Visualization of clusters in graph generated by Gephi software. Monitoring from September 19 to 26


The Digital Democracy Room at FGV ECMI is an initiative to monitor and analyze the public debate on the internet. Currently, it has partnerships to help monitor politics on the networks in Brazil and in Latin America. This content was produced by the partner Sul 21.