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INTRODUCTION


Brazil will join the Comparative National Elections Project - CNEP, coordinated by Professor Richard Gunther (Ohio State University) with its survey of the forthcoming presidential election. This survey will be coordinated by Professor Helcimara de Souza Telles and carried out in collaboration with Grupo de Pesquisa Opinião Pública.

The Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP) includes research carried out by scholars in more than two dozen countries countries in North and South America, Europe, East Asia and Africa over the past two decades. It analyzes important aspects of political communication and electoral behavior using compatible research designs and a common core of survey questions. The initial focus of this study was the "intermediation process" through which citizens receive information about parties, candidates, and politics in general during the course of election campaigns-- through the communications media (television, newspapers, radio, and newer information communication technologies), primary social networks (intimate discussants and, more generally, family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers), and secondary associations (especially trade unions, religious organizations and political parties).

The second phase of this project (beginning in 1993) added to the CNEP core questionnaire several items especially suited for the measurement of political change and regime consolidation in new democracies, as well as of the structure of basic values (concerning traditional religious beliefs, individual political and civil liberties, and preferences regarding the nature of the economy and public policies) that have often given rise to partisan political conflict in established democracies. More recently, the thematic focus of the project was further broadened to include considerations of the integrity of the electoral process and respondents’ understandings of the meaning of democracy.