Pastor Paulo vs. Doctor Carlos: Professional Titles as Voting Heuristics in Brazil

Taylor Chase Boas

Abstract


In low-information elections, voters are likely to rely on heuristics when choosing candidates. Based on survey experiments conducted prior to Brazil’s 2012 municipal elections, I examine the effect of candidates’ professional titles, such as “doctor” and “pastor,” on voting behavior. Using the “pastor” title in one’s electoral name tends to decrease vote intention, although evangelical Christians respond positively while members of other religious groups are repelled. The broader at-mosphere of political competition between Brazilian evangelicals and Catholics helps explain the presence of both out-group and in-group cueing effects. The “doctor” title has a positive effect on vote intention that appears to be mediated by the positive stereotypes, such as intelligence and competence, associated with members of this profession.

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