Bolsa Família and the Shift in Lula’s Electoral Base, 2002-2006: A Reply to Bohn
Latin American Research Review
44 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2012 Last revised: 18 May 2013
Date Written: December 12, 2011
In a recent article published in LARR, Simone Bohn analyzed electoral results and survey data from Brazil to contest several theses concerning the reelection of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2006. In particular Bohn asserted that beneficiaries of Bolsa Familia, a conditional cash transfer program that covered 11 million families at the time of the 2006, were already supporters of Lula in 2002, and that the program did not contribute to the change in Lula’s constituency from his election in 2002 to his reelection in 2006.
We show these claims are based on voter recall data collected 9 and 57 months after each election analyzed that grossly overestimate support for Lula, probably due to well known reporting biases. Reanalysis of Bohn’s results with the same data, and analysis of more reliable surveys suggests that Bolsa Familia did play a role in the 2006 elections.
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