Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Political Science


Political Science

First Advisor

Alice H. Cooper

Second Advisor

Gregory Love

Third Advisor

Robert Albritton

Relational Format



Although Brazil is, historically, a catholic country, the Catholic Church is losing its members to the Protestant churches, mainly Pentecostal ones. Between 1940-2010, the number of Protestants increased from 2.6% to 20.2%. On the other hand, between the same period, the number of Catholics decreased from 95% to 68.5%. One of the consequences of this shift in the religious marketplace has been its impact in the political realm; more specifically, in the number of political candidates that have identified themselves as evangélicos. The presence of evangélicos in power seems to be the most studied facet of the growth of Pentecostalism in Brazil. However, the literature would also benefit from the investigation of the consequences of this shift occurring in the religious marketplace at the individual-level. Here, I use data from the LAPOP (2010) to investigate the effects of religiosity, paying special attention to Pentecostalism, on political behavior and attitudes. This dissertation is divided in three parts. First, I draw demographic patterns between members of the major religious groups (Catholics, Pentecostal and mainline Protestants). Second, I test how religious variables (religious affiliation, church attendance, and devoutness) affect different measures of political participation. And lastly, I analyze how religiosity affects individuals' perceptions of democracy. My findings suggest that religion is mostly not correlated to political outcomes although devoutness shows to be a strong factor determining attitudes toward democracy. In the case of Brazil, socioeconomic variables are the strongest predictors of political outcomes.



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