Will Berlusconi have more time to entertain Tony?
Italian electoral law forbids the publishing of opinion polls up to a fortnight in advance of polling day, which has effect from last Saturday. This means that we can only speculate as to how events since then have affected the standing of the parties.’Parties will try to spin the figures of their own internal polling, but naturally only the positive ones.
Thanks to a strong start of the campaign, Berlusconi managed to gain some ground and make the election competitive. However, that positive trend for him seems to have halted in recent weeks with voting intentions stabilizing with a 3-7% lead for the opposition centre left Unione alliance.
The most recent polls have shown:
– IPR Marketing (21-22 March) Centre-Left 52%, Centre-Right 47%;
– Eurosiko (20-22 March): Centre-Left 51.7%, Centre-Right: 46.6%
– TBS/Abacus (20-21 March): Centre-Left 51.5%, Centre-Right 48%
– Ekma (20 March): House of Deputies: Centre-Left 53.5%, Centre-Right 46%
– Senate: Centre-Left 52.4%, Centre-Right 46.7%
Another pollster, Euromedia (considered more sympathetic to Berlusconi, because they work for his party) gave a different and more intriguing picture:
– with a turnout under 78%: Centre-Left 51.3%, Centre-Right 47.6%
– with a turnout between 78 and 82%: Centre-Left 50.1%, Centre-Right 48.8%
– with a turnout above 82%: Centre-Right 50%, Centre-Left 48.9%
So the outcome of the election could be down to turnout. Berlusconi must convince his 2001 supporters, many of whom have grown disillusioned with him over the intervening years, to turn out on polling day. It is unlikely that these people would vote for Prodi, but without their votes, the centre-right has little hope of prevailing.’
Finally it will be interesting to see how single parties will poll and this could affect the balance inside the coalitions. For example, how Berlusconiâ€™s own party will perform compared to his allies? And in the centre-left coalition, how decisive the far left (communists and greens) will be?
Another point is that this election will revert back to an entirely PR system (with a bonus for the winning coalition) â€“ Berlusconi has abolished all the first-past-the-post seats.
On the UK betting exchanges Prodie is at 0.3/1 to be the next Prime Minister with Berlusconi at 3.9/1.
Andrea is a 23 year old student living near Milan and is daily contributor to the site.
Note from Mike Smithson: Andrea’s piece is the latest guest contribution to PB.C – an innovation that was introduced only three weeks ago and is proving to be very popular. There are several other articles in the pipe-line. If you would like to take part drop me an email.