To cite the article:
Maggini, N. and Vezzoni, C. (2023). The Italian space of electoral competition in pandemic times. Italian Political Science, Volume 17, Issue 1, 34–54.
The article is open access and can be accessed here.
The polls on the voting intentions of Italians during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed substantial stability of electoral orientations in the first phase of the pandemic, while they detected a certain fluidity after the birth of the Draghi government, specifically with a decline of the League and M5s and the growth of Brothers of Italy (FdI). The results of the 2022 general election confirmed those trends with a clear-cut victory of the (centre-)right coalition, this time led by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy. In the meantime, the opponents experienced a poor electoral performance, and an even more deceiving result in terms of seats. All these upheavals have led many pundits to speculate about what would have been the results if the opponents to the right-wing coalition would have succeeded in building a coalition to achieve a higher level of competitiveness in the first-past-the-post electoral districts. But, beyond considerations based on vote intentions or electoral results, to what extent are these speculations consistent with the actual space of electoral competition among main Italian parties? In other words, on which areas of the electoral space does the competition unfold and how did those areas evolve? This paper answers these questions using original survey data from the ResPOnsE COVID-19 project. In particular, through the scale analysis of a set of propensity-to-vote (PTV) measures, we investigate the configuration of the electoral competition space in the aftermath of 2022 general election and how (and if) this configuration changes over three distinct phases of the pandemic: during the first wave (spring-summer 2020), during the third wave (spring 2021) and during the fourth wave (autumn-winter 2021). Results show that regardless of the period analysed, party competition occurs mainly within the right, whose party electorates strongly overlap, whereas more barriers exist among party electorates of the opposite camp.