2006

ARTICLES AND CHAPTERS:

▪ D. Baldassarri, H. Schadee, “Voter Heuristics and Political Cognition in Italy: An Empirical Typology”, on “Electoral Studies” n. 25, pages 448-466. (Read abstract)

Within a framework of reasoning voters who use various cognitive shortcuts — heuristics — to arrive at decision, we classify Italian voters on the basis of the information they possess, how information and judgment are organized and whether preferences match actual vote. By using only two sets of variables present in nearly all election surveys, we distinguish four types of voters: Utilius, a sort of Downsian voter that uses the left–right dimension in order to reduce the complexity of politics to a unidimensional space; Amicus, who conceives politics as an arena in which two main coalitions fight; Aliens, a detached voter that is strongly disinterested in — or even disappointed by — politics and its protagonists; and Medians, who belongs to a residual category. By distinguishing voters according to their actual knowledge and style of political reasoning, we provide a classification that is both able to grasp actual differences in the level of political cognition and sophistication, and suggestive with respect to the kind of information that are pertinent for the task at hand. We demonstrate that people follow multiple strategies and rely selectively on different kind of available information. It follows that parties, leaders, coalitions and media affect voter behavior, but they have different leverage on different types of voters.We conclude that a proper account of voter behavior needs to move from the search of the determinants of vote to the search of multiple mechanisms through which voters perceive, represent and evaluate the political landscape.

▪ M. Barisione, “Berlusconi, Prodi e un’elezione “presidenziale ma non troppo”, in “L’Italia a metà: dentro il voto del paese diviso” edited by R. Mannheimer, P. Natale, Milano, Cairo Publishing, pages 115-121.

▪ P. Bellucci, “Tracing the cognitive and affective roots of ‘party competence’: Italy and Britain”, on ”Electoral Studies” n. 25, pages 534-568. (Read abstract)

This paper presents findings from a study of the role of ‘‘party competence’’ as an explanatory variable of voting choice. Arguing that party competence can find an independent status in explaining voting choice, and a place in the reasoning of voters, it is shown that it can be distinguished from issue-ownership. Further, it has both a cognitive and affective componentsdthrough the role, respectively, of retrospective performance evaluation and of leadershipdand exerts a significant independent impact on voters’ choice. The analysis is carried out on post-election surveys conducted by Italian (Itanes) and British (Bes) election study in 2001.

▪ P. Bellucci, “All’origine della popolarità del governo in Italia” on ”Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica” n. 36, pages 479-503. (Read abstract)

This article analyses government popularity in Italy during the post-1992 period. In earlier times public opinion approval of the government had little political and electoral relevance. With the enactment of a new electoral law and the change of the party system, the ensuing alternation in government of different political coalitions makes meaningful a study of what drives government approval. The analysis is grounded in the “reasoning voter/valence politics” paradigm, according to which government performance can reinforce or discount voters’ party preference profiles. Two analyses are carried out, one at the aggregate level and one at the individual level. Regarding the former, a time-series model of monthly government ratings is fitted to both Centre-Left (1996-2001) and Centre-Right (2001-2006) governments, with findings showing that economic (consumers’) expectations and international events mainly explain government popularity. Such conclusion is confirmed also from the individual level analysis: voters’ approval of the government depends on the perception of economic conditions which, in turns, influences the assessment of government competence. Both outgoing Centre-Left (2001) and Centre-Right (2006) political coalitions were then defeated because of the low standing in the popular approval. Finally, the article discusses the importance of government leadership in contemporary Italian politics.

▪ N. Cavazza, “L’ambivalenza come esperienza di rapporto emotivo con la politica”, published on “Psicologia Sociale” n. 1, pages 197-206.

▪ P. G. Corbetta, “Variabili sociali e scelta elettorale. Il tramonto dei “cleavages” tradizionali”, published on “Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica” n. 36, pages 415-430. (Read abstract)

On the basis of the Itanes surveys from 1968 to 2006, this article analyses the fading impact of the traditional cleavages of class, religion and territory on the electoral choices of the Italians

▪ L. De Sio, “Dove stanno davvero gli elettori fluttuanti?”, on “Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica” n. 3, pages 393-414. (Read abstract)

The close outcome of the Italian general elections of 2006 highlights the crucial role of floating voters, switching from one coalition to its opponent. Using survey data, the paper studies the relation between the degree of political interest and knowledge of individual voters and their propensity to switch between competing coalitions in subsequent elections. Two rival hypotheses are proposed. The first, dubbed the “electoral market”, states that most vote change happens among the most interested and informed. On the contrary, the rival hypothesis of the “electoral bazaar” envisages a scenario where floating voters are mostly among the least politically involved. The results of the analysis show a marked difference between patterns in the First and the Second Republic.

BOOKS:

▪ M. Barisione, “L’immagine del leader. Quanto conta per gli elettori?”, Il Mulino, Bologna.

▪ ITANES, “Dov’è la vittoria? Il voto del 2006 raccontato dagli italiani”, Bologna, Il Mulino

> Pages 13-34: “Chi è arrivato primo?” by R. D’alimonte, Salvatore Vassallo
> Pages 35-47: “Leader e temi in video” by G. Legnante
> Pages 49-60: “Vincere la campagna, perdere le elezioni” by G. Sani
> Pages 61-76: “Elettori «convertiti», elettori «traghettati»” by L. De Sio
> Pages 79-92: “«Semper fideles»? Genere e generazioni politiche al voto” by L. Ceccarini, I. Diamanti
> Pages 93-108: “Professioni e scelte di voto: una polarizzazione tra lavoro autonomo e lavoro dipendente?” by R. Biorcio
> Pages 109-126: “I cattolici al voto, tra valori e politiche dei valori” by P. Segatti
> Pages 127-144: “Guardare la politica da lontano” by M. Roccato, P. G. Corbetta, N. Cavazza
> Pages 145-162: “Successo o benevolenza? I valori degli elettori” by P. Catellani, P. Milesi
> Pages 163-178: “Le questioni che dividono gli italiani” by S. Vassallo
> Pages 179-196: “Il richiamo debole del leader di coalizione” by M. Barisione
> Pages 197-208: “Nella selva della politica: partiti, coalizioni e altri animali” by M. Maraffi
> Pages 209-224: “Insuccessi del governo, paura delle tasse” by P. Bellucci, V. Memoli
> Pages 225-234: “Tutta colpa dell’Euro” by P. Catellani

▪ ITANES, “Sinistra e destra: Le radici psicologiche della differenza politica”, Bologna, Il Mulino

> Pages 45-71: “Autodefinizioni: Il lessico della politica” by M. Roccato, P. G. Corbetta
> Pages 73-83: “Identificazioni: dal partito alla coalizione” by P. Catellani, P. Milesi
> Pages 91-128: “Emozioni. Il cuore a sinistra” by N. Cavazza, P. G. Corbetta
> Pages 129-149: “Pregiudizio: sguardi diversi sugli immigrati” by P. Catellani, P. Milesi
> Pages 151-171: “Efficacia: fare o lasciar fare” by P. Catellani, P. Milesi