From: Carloalberto Rossi
A Referendum about Rama

The publication of the polls by two well-known Italian polling companies seems to have imprinted into the minds of the political pundits that the election results have been determined, except the 10% or so of voters who have declared themselves undecided.

But the IPR/Ora News poll shows two other pieces of data that seem to contradict this idea; the result of the general elections is still an open question and could end up completely different from the polls so far.

The first observation from IPR, which is also confirmed by the Piepoli/Report TV poll, is that only 55% of the 3.48 million registered voters is expected to vote, with 35% not voting and 10% not having decided yet whether to vote or not.

If this is true, 1.9 million people will vote on June 25. According to the latest IPR poll, 48% or 918,720 votes will go to the PS. In 2013, the PS received 713,000 on its own, while the coalition led by PS–LSI received 995,000 in total. If IPR is correct, the PS is projected to take half of the mandates in Parliament with the votes of a bit more than a quarter of the registered voters.

The second observation is that only 44% of the PS electorate actually wants Rama to be prime minister. Translated into the numbers calculated above, only 11.6% of the registered voters actually want Rama to be in power.

This shows something very important. It is not a given that the undecided votes will be distributed according to the percentages shown in the polls, and would therefore have no influence of the final outcome. The truth is that the final results may show quite some deviation from what has been predicted so far.

The most recent events, with the suggestion of a broad PS–PD coalition, have alienated the voters from politics even further, and it seems that the “cost” of this alienation is even greater for those parties who remained outside the McAllister+ agreement, such as PDIU, LIBRA, and LSI. Low turnout in the elections may also be costly for the PD, which had revived and united its electorate with the narrative of the Tent of Freedom and the New Republic, but was confronted with disappointment from various parts of its electorate after the agreement with the PS. This sense of disappointment has certainly also affected the electorate of the PS. But the loyalty of PS militants for their party is well-known, while exchanging the PD for the LSI as coalition partner may not be such an issue.

Much more problematic for the PS electorate is the arrogant behavior of its leader, the unkept promises, worsening of the economy, and the concessions, which seemed to have opened a chasm between the socialists and the prime minister.

This line of reasoning may support, at least in theory, the thesis that the largest part of the undecided voters and those who have declared not to vote are more in favor of the opposition than the socialist government. So they may be deeply disappointed by Rama, but have no faith in any of the other parties.

Let’s propose three hypotheses that may not be exaggerated:

  • Half of the 45% that is undecided or which has declared not to vote will decide at the last moment to go to the ballot box;
  • Those votes will be against Rama;
  • Those votes are divided among the other parties except the PS according to the proportions showed in the polls.

This would give us a total of 2,697,000 votes, putting the PS at 34.1%, PD at 41.8%, LSI at 16.5%, LIBRA at 2.9%, and PDIU at 2.3%. No party would achieve an absolute majority, and the numbers would look quite different from the projections so far (except the outlier, GfK).

The higher the number of undecided or non-voters showing up, the bigger the advantage for the opposition, especially the PD.

All of this exercise is to show that the numbers projected in the polls so far are used politically to show support for an agreement that actually may not exist. If the PD and LSI are able to “get out the vote,” this election may still show some surprising results.