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Changing Models of Electoral Choice in Italy


Scholars argue that the realignment of the electorate which took place with the transition to the so-called Italian Second Republic followed mainly a traditional partisan pattern, with electors of the former centre ruling parties (the Christian Democrats and the Socialists) turning to vote for the new centre and right parties (Forza Italia and the National Alliance), while left-wing voters continued to hold their traditional allegiance. Behind this apparent electoral turmoil there would appear to be little in the way of voter mobility. Such a reading implies continuity in the motivations of voters who behaved according to their previous ‘personal electoral history’ and in accordance with their sub-cultural political identification. Here an alternative interpretation is proposed in which it is argued that as a result of the 1994 realignment elections voters who deserted the centre (the heirs of the Christian Democrats) did so also according to their class interest and in response to the policy proposal of the centre-right. Since that time a ‘valence model’ of electoral behaviour has begun to emerge where ‘reasoning voters’ react to the performance of the incumbent, and voting also depends on an assessment of leadership, policy performance and issues.

Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Paolo Bellucci, Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche, Giuridiche Politiche e Sociali, Università di Siena, Via Mattioli 10, I-53100 Siena, Tel.: +39-0577-235285/299. Fax: +39-0577-235292. Email:
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

P. Bellucci (2006), ‘Tracing the cognitive and affective roots of “party competence”: Italy and UK, 2001’, Electoral Studies, Vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 534568.

H. D. Clarke , D. Sanders , M. C. Stewart , P. Whiteley (2004) Political Choice in Britain, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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Modern Italy
  • ISSN: 1353-2944
  • EISSN: 1469-9877
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-italy
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