Kdo bo volil za skrajno desne stranke v Italiji

Italijanski (verjetni) obrat v skrajno desno je za ljudi izven Italije dokaj strašljiv. Ključni vprašanji sta, zakaj in za katere volilce so Melonijevi Bratje Italije tako privlačni.

Adam Tooze je naredil dobro quick & dirty analizo strukture volilcev, ki naj bi to nedeljo volili za (bolj ali manj) skrajno desne stranke v Italiji. Kratek povzetek: Sredinska socialna stranka PD ima volilce v zgornjem srednjem razredu – med slojem izobraženih, z višjimi dohodki in ateisti. Kar podpira Pikettyjevo tezo, da je soacialdemokracija zapustila delavce in postala stranka dobro situiranih liberalnih izobražencev. Salvinijeva Lega je prevzela nekdanje volilce socialdemokracije – mlade, delavski razred ter nižje izobražene in aktivne vernike. Druge volilce levice (liberalnejše mlade in z nižjimi dohodki) je prevzela stranka 5 zvezdic. V nasprotju s tem pa Bratje Italije, ki jo vodi Melonijeva, ki odkrito koketira s fašizmom in za katero ankete kažejo največji delež glasov na volitvah, enakomerno pobira glasove po dimenzijah starosti in izobrazbe ter dohodkov. Prav tako jo “odlikuje”, da enakomerno privlači vse segmente na desni strani od zmernih desničarjev do identitarijancev in avtoritarijancev. Če jo kaj loči od drugih, je to, da najbolj privlači tradicionalne volilce. Njeni dve najbolj privlačni lastnosti sta očitno evroskepticizem in tradicionalne družinske (anti-LGBT) vrednote. Oboje je tipično italijansko v zadnjem desetletju in pol, ker očitno reflektira stvari, ki Italijane najbolj motijo.


Clearly, for many of us, the prospect of Meloni’s victory is a distressing one and it begs the question of who is voting for this party and why the center-left seems set to do so badly.

A set of data from Corriera Della Sera paint the basic picture.

There are slight differences between women and men in party preference, with women slightly preferring the older parties of the right i.e. the Lega and Forza Italia. Men slightly prefer the PD and the Fratelli. But the big difference on gender lines is that a far larger share of women declare themselves undecided or uncertain about whether they will vote at all.

With regard to age it is striking that it is the center-left PD that does relatively well with the youngest voters. The PD also scores particularly well with those over 65, voters whose preferences were shaped before the break of 1992, when the Cold War party system collapsed. The prospective votes for 5Star are heavily weighted towards the youth vote. By contrast, Fratelli d’Italia does relatively poorly with both younger and older voters and concentrates its support amongst the middle-aged. This tendency is even more pronounced for the Lega.

On the educational axis a pattern emerges that is visible in many modern democracies and has been highlighted by Thomas Piketty. Amongst those with University degrees the center-Left PD will likely score more votes than the Fratelli and the Lega put together. Liberal progressive politics has become the domain above all of better educated Italian voters. The Fratelli achieve relatively similar support across all educational levels whereas the Lega sees a clear bias towards the lowest levels of qualification.

And this is confirmed when we look at occupational data. The center-left PD does best with the liberal professions, white-collar workers and teachers. It does badly with workers and the unemployed. The Lega vote is heavily tilted towards workers, whereas 5Star scores highly amongst the unemployed. What brings the Fratelli their likely success is that they do relatively well across all occupations, scoring poorly only amongst students.

The social analysis group Cluster17 offers a slightly different breakdown of occupations, which highlights in even more stark form, the differences suggested by the Corriere data.

Source: Cluster17

According to Cluster17 the center left will score a miserable 9 percent amongst workers as against 29 percent amongst retirees and 34 percent amongst managerial and professional voters. The Lega reverses this pattern, scoring twice as well amongst workers as amongst the electorate at large. But it will be the Fratelli that will score the largest share of Italian working-class votes. Since workers make up 30 percent of the electorate this pattern strongly favors the right-wing coalition. All told the three-party right-wing coalition will likely capture 58 percent of Italian workers’s votes this year.

The pattern implied by the occupational data is strongly confirmed by data regarding income. Support for the center-left PD increases monotonously with income. Those on over 5000 euros per month are almost three times as likely to vote for the PD as those on under 1000. The reverse is true for 5Star. 5Star will likely take 28 percent of the lowest income group, twice its overall vote share. The Lega’s vote is strongest in the 1000-1500 bracket. Once again, the Fratelli stand out for the fact that their vote share varies relatively little across income classes.

Source: Cluster17

So, apart from not attracting the votes of students and pensioners, the occupational and income data do not really give us a clear view of the far-right Fratelli voters. Meloni who is herself from a working-class background and a tough suburb of Rome will do well with working-class voters, but that does not mean that she will do particularly badly with other social groups.

So what does motivate those who will cast their vote for the Fratelli? The answer is to be found most clearly on the side of culture and beliefs.

One fundamental divide within the Italian electorate is drawn on grounds of religion.

Source: Cluster17

Italy is a society in which a quarter define themselves as non-believers. 20 percent are practicing Catholics. And half identify with Catholicism but do not practice.

The Center-left scores by far the best amongst those who describe themselves as non-believers. 5 Star, likewise, does relatively well with non-believers (27 percent of the total). The Lega and Berlusconi’s Forza D’Italia do far better with practicing Catholics than with any other group. The Fratelli does best with those who declare themselves to be religious but are not practicing, which is also the largest segment of Italian society – 52 percent. Conversely, three of the right-wing coalition parties scores very poorly amongst the non-believers.

What emerges from this elaborate exercise is an image of the kinds of social and cultural milieu which give their support to each of the Italian parties.

Source: Le Grand Continent

The upshot of this analysis it that the relative weakness of the left is due to the fact that it only appeals strongly to three social-cultural clusters: progressive-radicals, social democrats and social-christians. These groups tend to be older or younger, under-representing middle aged groups. They tend to be highly educated. The three bases of support for the PD are united in their opposition to identitarian policies, but are split on religion. The PD’s opposition to radical reform makes it difficult for them to capture any of the popular vote that is opposed to the identitarian politics of the right, but is attracted by the anti-systemic message offered by 5Star.

The strength of the Fratelli, by contrast, lies in their ability to mobilize support from 5 distinct conservative clusters ranging from moderate conservatives to identitarians and authoritarians (whose vote the Fratelli split with the Lega). Strikingly where the Fratelli score most strongly are not with modern radicals of the right, but with traditionalist. They also score heavily with anti-welfarists (anti-assistanat).

The upshot of this analysis is that the surge in support for the Fratelli does not mark a break with the pattern that was already established in 2018. The basic rearrangement of social identity and voting was already established in the decades since the end of the Cold War. By 2018 Italian workers had drifted into the right-wing camp. What Meloni has done is to take votes above all from her right-wing rivals and to bind together a wide range of right-wing and conservative opinion in a camp that refused any compromise with Draghi’s cross-party government. 5Star still takes a lot of the lower-income and youth vote that might otherwise be available to the left. That leaves the PD as a predominantly upper-middle class party that represents the educated and higher-income classes but has no chance of building a viable majority.

Vir: Adam Tooze

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