Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 21 aprile 2012 alle ore 05:57.
L'ultima modifica è del 21 aprile 2012 alle ore 03:52.
In the midst of the confusion that comes with the end of a legislature, only one thing is certain: the fact that many Italian voters are disoriented. Data from a poll conducted by the Italian Center for Electoral Studies (CISE) and Il Sole 24 Ore support this. One factor is voter turnout, another is voters’ intentions. In 2008, about 38 million people voted, equaling an 80.5 percent turnout, with about 19.5 percent of eligible voters staying home. If we were to vote tomorrow, 35 percent of the electorate would stay home, a figure that could rise to 42 percent if we take into account those who are still unsure about whether to vote. This means that at least 7.5 million of the Italians who voted in 2008 would not vote today. Even by itself, this figure gives a good measure of the detachment of the electorate from the current political class. Twelve months ago, this was not the case: in the first poll conducted by the CISE and Il Sole 24 Ore, in April, only 18.6 percent reported abstaining from the vote. Today that figure is potentially at 42.1 percent: only 58 percent are sure they will be voting. And only 4 out of 10 people know what party they will vote for.
But luckily we are not voting tomorrow. Surely voter turnout in the spring of 2013 will be higher than what was registered by our poll. How much higher? It’s impossible to predict that today. It will depend on many factors. In any case, turnout will be much lower than in 2008. It has been steadily decreasing at an average rate of about 2 percent per election since the end of the ’70s. In accordance with this trend, we should expect a voter turnout of approximately 78 percent. That will not be the case. That figure is completely unrealistic, given the choices available to voters.
To get a complete picture of the situation relative to abstention, one must add the data on indecision. The percentage of individuals who report wanting to vote but not knowing who to vote for has been relatively stable for the past 12 months. Today, the undecided represent 19.8 percent of the sample, compared to 18 percent 12 months ago. Adding this figure to the one on abstention, it turns out that fewer than 4 voters out of 10 know that they will be casting a vote and which party they will be casting it for. So it is on that 40 percent of the potential electorate that we calculated the percentage of votes who would be going to each political party. We are talking of 18 million voters out of the 36.5 million who voted in 2008. Now, if we hypothesize that 72 percent of the electorate will be casting votes in 2013, it means that there are about 16 million votes out there looking for a political party. These are very rough estimates that do not take into account the number of blank or incorrectly cast votes (about 1.5 million in 2008) nor those people who will not say who they will vote for, even though they have already made up their minds. And yet, even taking into account these factors, the number of votes that we can call available is impressive and closely recalls the circumstances at the end of the First Republic (1948 to 1994, when there was a massive party overhaul). This means that today presents the circumstances needed for a deep restructuring of the political system, that which the experts term “realignment.” In the 1992 and 1994 elections, Umberto Bossi and Berlusconi took advantage of the situation. They were the ones who responded to the request for something new. Who will take advantage of the situation today? Pier Ferdinando] Casini of the Union of Centrist Christian Democrats, Senator Giuseppe Pisanu of the People of Liberty, Grilli, Luigi De Magistris of the Italy of Values party, etc.?
It is in light of these data that one must interpret another surprising result of the poll. Responders who said they wanted to vote (58 percent of the sample) were asked two more questions. The first was which party they wanted to vote for. The second was which party they would vote for if they also had the opportunity to vote for another party, headed by Mario Monti. This time, 29.6 percent said they would vote for Monti. Therefore, if this option were present, it would reduce the estimated votes for the Democratic Party to 19.6 percent and for the People of Liberty to 15.2 percent. Monti’s party would be the largest political party in Italy by far. Naturally, we are talking about a virtual result. The figure is surely overestimated. Furthermore, it is based on brittle data, as are all other estimates of Italian’s voting intentions at this point. There is too much uncertainty around to be able to consider the estimated party shares of votes reliable. However, these data do call for reflection, especially in light of the fact that a majority (56 percent) of those interviewed no longer give a positive evaluation of the current government’s operating and would not want to undergo the same experiences following the next election. And yet, almost one out of three of the respondents who intend to vote would cast their vote for a party headed by Monti. The migration to this new party would be in equal parts from the three parties that currently support the government: 21.7 percent of those who previously voted for the Democratic Party, 23.4 percent of those who previously voted for the People of Liberty and 26.2 percent of those who previously voted for the Centrist Union. This type of support is cross-sectional but also quite brittle, as it is closely linked to the positive evaluation of this administration’s operations. In any case, it is a base that unquestionably highlights the weakness of the political parties, seeing that almost one out of four of their supporters is ready to defect to another party.
In sum, the biggest party in Italy is a party that doesn’t exist and that probably will not exist. But the current parties cannot find consolation in the fact that they will not have to face Monti as a competitor in the upcoming elections. Even without Monti, there will be some novelties, because a wide open electoral market, with a large number of available votes, fuels ambitions and appetites that have not yet fully manifested themselves. These days we are witnessing the first repositioning maneuvers in the center right. And it is natural that this portion of the political continuum be the one to reposition, as it is in this portion of the continuum that we find the greatest proportion of disoriented voters looking for a new landfall. Like in 1994. The nation’s party is taking off, and “new People of Liberty” was invoked and then announced by Angelino Alfano. The decomposition and recomposition of the center-right has started, and it could bring some surprises. The biggest one would be Berlusconi’s return under new guises. After all, the Cavaliere (the knight, as Berlusconi is occasionally called) is the one who knows the most about markets and political campaigns. It would be incredible if he were to repeat the 1994 miracle, when he united all of the pieces of the political center-right under a single flag. Incredible, but not impossible. After all, we are still in the country of the Gattopardo, the Leopard.
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