Italian election minus six weeks, US midterms and Britain’s next PM

The far-right is likely to win in Italy. Also: positive news for US Democrats three months before midterm elections, and Liz Truss set to be Britain’s next PM.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The Italian election is on September 25.  At the March 2018 election, the right coalition won about 42% of seats in both chambers of the Italian parliament, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) 36% and the left coalition 19%.

With no majority for a single alliance, there were three governments during the 2018-22 term.  The first government, from June 2018 to August 2019, was a coalition between the M5S and the far-right League.  The second government, from September 2019 to January 2021, was a coalition between the M5S and the centre-left Democrats.  The third government, from February 2021 to July 2022, was a grand coalition led by technocrat Mario Draghi that all important parties joined except the far-right Brothers of Italy.

In July, this third government collapsed, and elections were called eight months early.  Since the 2018 election, there has been a crash in support for the M5S, with the League and the conservative Forza Italia also down.  The big beneficiary is the Brothers, who won just 4% in 2018, but are up to about 24% in current polls.

Italian governments need the confidence of both houses.  The Chamber of Deputies will have 400 members and the Senate 200.  Minimum voting age for the Senate was lowered from 25 to 18, the same as in the Chamber.  Seventy-four Senate seats and 147 Chamber seats (about 37% of both) will be elected by First Past the Post, and the rest by proportional representation with a 3% national threshold.

The right coalition at this election is composed of the Brothers, the League, Forza Italia and a small party, while the left coalition is composed of the Democrats and three small parties.  The M5S, a centrist alliance and Italexit are running separately.  Coalitions will nominate just one candidate for each FPTP seat.

While the lead parties of the right and left coalitions, the Brothers and Democrats, are roughly tied at around 24% each in the polls, the right coalition overall has far more support.  Three recent polls give the right coalition 48-50%, the left coalition 27-32%, the M5S 10-11% and the centrists 5-6%.

If these polls were replicated at the election, the right coalition would win a large majority of the FPTP seats and over half the proportional seats as the 5% “others” would be excluded as it would be unlikely an individual other would reach the 3% threshold.

The right coalition is likely to win, and as the two biggest parties in that coalition, the Brothers and League, are far-right, Italy’s next PM is likely to be the female leader of the Brothers, Giorgia Meloni.

US Democrats gain ground three months before midterm elections

I wrote for The Conversation on Thursday that the US Supreme Court’s denial of abortion rights appears to be helping Democrats as they gain ground three months before the November 8 midterm elections.  In FiveThirtyEight forecasts, Democrats are now a 61% chance to win the Senate, and lead the national popular vote by 0.3%.  In Kansas, an attempt to alter the state constitution to remove abortion rights was rejected by 59-41; Kansas voted for Trump by nearly 15 points in 2020. 

Recent economic data is also assisting Democrats, as inflation looks much better while the jobs situation continues to be strong.  And Democrats got important legislation on health and climate change through the 50-50 Senate last Sunday, and this passed the House Friday, so Joe Biden can sign it into law.

Liz Truss set to be Britain’s next PM

Conservative members decide via a postal ballot between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak who will be their next leader and Britain’s PM.  The result will be announced September 5, but votes have already been sent out, and most members will return their votes quickly.

A YouGov poll of Conservative members, taken by early August from a sample of 1,040, gave Truss a 69-31 lead over Sunak (60-26 with undecided and won’t vote included).  Truss’ lead increased from 62-38 in the poll taken after the final two candidates were known.  Conservative members thought it was wrong for their MPs to oust Boris Johnson by 53-41.  In a three-way vote, it would be 40% Johnson, 28% Truss and 23% Sunak.

Update Sunday: An Opinium poll of 570 Conservative members, conducted August 8-13 from a sample of 570 for The Guardian/Observer, gave Truss a 61-39 lead. Johnson would trounce either candidate head to head.

40 comments on “Italian election minus six weeks, US midterms and Britain’s next PM”

  1. Italian politics…

    Meloni and his far right party (note a woman leading a “Brothers of Italy” party….), which is the historical descendant of the old Fascists, partly rely on an old say when it comes to defend themselves against accusations of Fascism: “We were better when we were worse”… The say is used especially by the far right to make voters focus on how bad Progressive governments are supposed to be, and how not-so-bad perhaps even the old Mussolini regime was in comparison.

    Will the right-wing Coalition win?…. Will Meloni be PM?…. Meloni is an extremely divisive leader, very aggressive, very arrogant. I remain doubtful that the right will be able to form a majority government, and even if they do, who knows for how long they will remain in power before the next crisis and general election. The centre-left and left, however, will have to work very hard on their divisions.

  2. “Liz Truss set to be Britain’s next PM”…

    I hope so, that would mark the end of the Tories at the next general election….. Not even the propaganda against the much maligned Starmer (well, for the British mainstream media, any leader of the Labour party is “much maligned”, just remember Corbyn and everybody else before him, perhaps with the exception of Tony Blair) will work.

  3. US mid-term elections:

    Yes, I agree, the tide is turning for the Democrats in the USA…. and wait for the FBI report on what they found at Mar-a-Lago…..

  4. Always appreciate your posts on world politics, Adrian. It’s interesting to see how different other democracies are around the world compared to Aus.

  5. It appears the next 1 1/2 years in Europe will be very difficult for Europe especially for UK.
    According to Chief of Bank of England things will be apocalyptic in UK.
    Because of Energy crisis in addition to Climate change effects on Europe, things can go really pearshaped in Europe. So I will not be surprised if the far-right parties win the Italian general election and become friendly with Putin and Russia. And Italy is a very important G7 nation and important European nation and NATO nation.
    Meloni can make things very very difficult for G7, NATO and EU vis-a-vis Russia.
    Because UK choose Brexit, it will be very difficult for EU to deal with Liz Truss when she becomes PM.
    And by any chance if Republicans capture US Congress in Mid term elections, chaos will reign supreme in US, UK and EU.
    Very interesting times ahead. France stopped Marie LePen. But can they Meloni and her far-right coalition from coming to power.
    We have seen Mussolini come to power about 100 years ago. Then Hitler came to power and rest is history.
    Lately A lot of once-in-a-100 year events are happening quite regularly.

  6. “Adrian Beaumont says:
    Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 10:04 am
    Thanks for commenting, Alpo. Was disappointed at not getting any comments on this yesterday.”

    Thanks for your contribution, Adrian. I only comment on three websites. I like to comment on this one for the emphasis on opinion polling results from Australia and beyond. With all its limitations, opinion polling is the only thing we can access between elections to get some grasp on what the voters are thinking.

  7. Excelent that Truss looks a near certainty to become UK Prime Minister. I’m no Conservative, but the way the EU has used Brexit to attempt to disconnect Northern Ireland from the UK is completely inexcusable. With Truss having made it clear she intends to pursue the protocol legislation, which largely unwinds the protocol, hopefully the EU will get the message that they have pushed too far. Sunak, on the other hand, would absolutely have roled over. I hear a lot of talk about the EU responding to the UK walking away from the protocol, but I think this is largely bluster. A trade war would make inevitable the very thing that the EU says it is so desperate to avoid, a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The EU would be forced to police that border, as they could not expect any help from the UK.

    Very concerning to see the rise of the far right in Italy. It really does seem history may be about to repeat.

  8. I would maintain that Biden is a lucky politician. Nobody reckoned he’d beat trump then he got the result in Georgia that’s helped him get legislation through, now religious extremism on the supreme court has given them the chance to energise the voters. Trump’s support seems to be disappearing as well but the boofhead will not go away. He will either be their candidate who won’t win or a spoiler.

  9. I would be going short on the Euro. The Brothers of Italy have some fairly ain’t EU policies and have made a few grumbles about not paying the massive national debt. A victory that is likely to have them come to power in the leading role in a coalition is going to spook financial markets who might be looking down a new Euro debt crises (worse than the Greek one). Thus I think the Euro will again head below parity with the USD.
    Also the AUD will likely be collateral damage as money flows in the USD. This will result in more inflationary pressures here and more interest rate rises.

    Although I am not sure the Right coalition is going to get a majority in its own right, so might be relying on some of the minor parties to give them a majority.

  10. Ven

    The point is though that LT won’t be creating the border, the EU will. It isn’t the responsibility of the UK to protect the single market. So in the scenario where the EU wants to pursue a trade war with the UK, not only would the EU have to create a hard border, but would have to police it. This is why I say it is bluff, not reality.

  11. The Irish land border isn`t the only UK EU border and there are trade measures that the EU can take to retaliate targeting British mainland industries in a trade war that hurt the Britain far more than the EU. If there is a trade war, the EU are likely to win it.

  12. Thankyou Adrian, I haven’t been following US politics closely recently so it’s good to hear there’s some green shoots for those of us who don’t want to see the Trumpists regain power.

  13. I get the Truss enthusiasm in the anti-tory sense (she is a clown and increases their chance of defeat)… but the damage she can do in the 2 years esp if mps follow her rightwing populist path to the max.

    After Trump and Boris, even the risk of short term pain has incredibly long term consequences (supreme court and hard brexit just to name 2)

    Not sure what consolation a Starmer victory might be if the nation is irretrievably ruined on multiple fronts?

    Dems in the senate are really helped by some joke repub candidates like Oz, Walker and Vance. May gas prices continue to fall, the economic hardship wave has the ability to usher these nobs into office. Dems holding on to House would be a miracle, 20% chance at best

    As for Italy moving right and pro-Russian what a nightmare.

    This decade started horrendously with the pandemic and threatens to be a very dark one indeed with stagflation + unrest hitting unprecedented levels. Looking for the optimistic narrative but can’t find it

    Trump annihilating Karmala in ’24 would just complete the descent into darkness, looking less likely but if Biden doesnt run (and noone wants him to) then definitely tenable

  14. Expat, it actually hasn’t been a bad year for the left at national elections so far. Labor won the Aus election, Macron easily beat Le Pen in France, the left was re-elected in Portugal easily and Colombia elected a leftist president for the first time. In late 2021, the left won in Germany, the Liberals were re-elected in Canada and a leftist president won in Chile.

    While Italy doesn’t look good for the left, Bolsonaro in Brazil is likely to be ousted by the leftist Lula in October. And the US doesn’t look so bleak for Dems at the midterms.

  15. So the tories set to elect their third female leader and PM. Also, from a field of (if memory serves) 3 serious female contenders. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe British labour have ever elected a female leader.

    Just found that interesting…

  16. Big Adrian
    This would be first time that Tory party members will be electing female PM.
    Thatcher and May were not elected by Tory party members. They were elected to leadership position by MPs. Then Thatcher won an election to become PM. May was elected as PM by MPs and won a minority government in election later.

  17. Adrian

    I also appreciate your posts for their factual, simple – but not too simple, i.e. lacking in interesting detail – analysis, although I often don’t comment. I always read them right through and, unless they’re only about the

    How far behind is Bolsonaro currently in Brazil?

    And, more to the point, what do 2nd round polls show would happen if Lula doesn’t win outright in the first round (as seems likely to be the case)?

  18. I also hope the Democrats win control of the senate – and by some miracle keep hold of the House – this ‘fall’, as they call it in good old USA.

    Mainly to put the brakes on the whole MAGA movement associated with Jan.6 and ‘stop the steal’ dangerous nonsense. As it stands it will outlive Trump, but a historically poor result in the 1st term of a President from the opposing party would give many (i.e. those who are merely opportunists rather than those that actually believe all the rubbish) pause for thought and a decent chance of a reset to something more mainstream and less divisive, regardless of Trump’s efforts to spin it.

    This terrible cancerous division in USA currently is ultimately very paralysing / weakening, and exactly what their enemies are aiming at in sowing discord.

    As such, it’s a frightening threat to the biggest guarantor of all who value freedom around the globe and wish to counter the rising threat to us all of the autocracies.

  19. Liz Truss is a relatively poor speaker but she is a hard worker, mostly clear-eyed on the chief threats the UK faces, and possibly under-rated – which could work to her advantage amongst the wider public if she manages the first month well leading up to party conferences.

    As one of Cameron’s original ‘A-lister’s parachuted into her seat, she’s certainly not the right-wing captive her enemies like to portray her as – and which could therefore backfire when the public see something different.

    That doesn’t mean she doesn’t recognise the political value of a bit of populism – is there any PM who didn’t, whatever their stripes?

  20. Thanks Adrian, looks like Lula’s nearly home and dry.

    He’s such a known quantity already from his previous presidency and court convictions etc, that it will be difficult for Bolsonaro (or any opponent) to land the knock-out blow that would change the dynamics of the race.

  21. I’m not buying your claimed successes for the left Adrian.

    A lot of your claimed leftists are in fact just centrists, and even there only so by being slightly to the left of parties that 10-15 years ago would have been widely considered fascist lunatics.

    Macron was only a candidate at all because the real left polled so abysmally.

    Left wing parties in Germany only won government by offering the center-right LDP a better coalition deal.

    The Canadian Liberals are pretty aggressively centrist, despite the usual progressive flourishes, while the real Canadian left the NDP remains stuck on 20%.

    The ALP, at best a centrist party by most relative international measures, barely scraped home in this year’s election by having a bet both ways on climate change and because the incumbents badly miscalculated the community mood on COVID for two solid years straight and counting.

    And the US Democratic Party is in an abysmal state. Despite the Republicans having a delusional megalomaniac kleptocrat as nominal head the Democrats have less than a 50/50 chance to keep control over either house of congress this year.

    All up the future of the international left looks absolutely dire to me if the main successes it can claim are centrists who have slipped up through the middle of the entire mess.

  22. Looking forward to see a Lula victory in Brazil. That could be a turning point for South America towards a Social Democratic future, which would fit very well with a Biden Democratic presidency in the USA.

    To be frank, I see the international Conservative-Neoliberal camp truly losing power, appeal and meaning. Whatever your criticism of their policies, just compare Conservative-Neoliberal leaders such as Thatcher, Reagan, Chirac, Kohl…. with the current mob of Conservative-Neoliberal idiots such as Trump, Johnson, Morrison, Bolsonaro, Modi….

  23. “AngoraFish says:
    Monday, August 15, 2022 at 7:33 pm”

    It is true that the traditional left (Socialists, Communists, Anarchists) has shrunk to almost insignificance just about everywhere in the Western world. The parties of the “left” are currently Social Democratic parties, hence more like centre-left.

    “The ALP, at best a centrist party by most relative international measures, barely scraped home in this year’s election”…. A 2PP of 52.13% for the ALP is not really “barely scraped home”, for Australian standards. The ALP is a Social Democratic party that can be better described as centre-left. They are not in the business of burying capitalism, just reform it…. Oh, and the Greens have the same intention (Marx and Lenin would find the Greens laughable), although they stand relatively to the left of the ALP.

    “And the US Democratic Party is in an abysmal state. “… Well, it’s true that they are a diverse party, but the Republicans also are. In spite of that, the Dems have got the presidency, the majority in the H. of Reps. and a majority of 50%+1 in the Senate as well (when all Dem Senators vote along party lines). That was Trump’s “legacy”…. Let’s see what happens at the mid-term elections…

    “All up the future of the international left looks absolutely dire”…. Not so for the future of Social Democracy (centre-left). The true “left” have only very few choices:
    a) Go home and retire.
    b) Join the Social Democratic centre-left.
    c) Oppose the Social Democratic centre-left, in the hope of attracting their disillusioned voters.

  24. @Alpo. If your goal here is to gaslight the meaning of left you’re probably going to find yourself more at home in the main thread. I’m mainly interested in discussing politics.

  25. Adrian (B)

    If the right ever had a time to ‘rent out’ political office to the left then now would be it. Next couple of years are going to be spectacularly challenging for the world and i wouldnt want to be an incumbent. NZ comes to mind, one of the most admired leaders outside the country but in serious trouble domestically.

    The number of relatively reasonable electoral outcomes you refer to notwithstanding (and the day we have to cite a Macron victory over Le Pen as a good outcome instead of the only tenable outcome is scary… esp considering the swing her party’s way in general), its the Russia and China of it all this decade which is quite concerning.

    Throw in a Truss prime ministership (uk disaster), a right wing Italy victory (eu disaster) and a Repub House victory with some prospect of retaking the presidency in ’24 (including with Trump) and its just a grim worldview i have in the aggregate politically let alone economically

  26. I like your analysis, just love the way you brand anyone more conservative than you as ‘Far Right’, Alinsky must be on your daily reading list.

  27. I think this may be the best place on the site to ask, so here goes…

    FiveThirtyEight shows the Democrats as 63 of 100 chances for senate majority but only 22 out of 100 in the House. Why the big discrepancy?

    Is it due to where the elections are being held (many Republican senators up for re-election say) or for a whole host of other reasons, including the Republican state congress Gerrymandering?


    I would say it is for both the reasons you propose and would include potentially that the increased interest in voting Democratic since Dobbs might be disproportionately in Republican (and possibly potentially Republican) states, where abortion issues are highest profile (strongly Democratic places like California are not about to implement any bans), disproportionately where there are Republican Senators or potential gains, while there are potential Republican gains in safe Democratic states .

  29. @sfw: Look at Howard’s policies. Not his politics of grudge-stirring and fearmongering, his actual policies. Economically, they bear a rather startling resemblance to Labor’s current economic policies, with the sole exception of climate change – where Labor does at least offer something by way of action, even if it’s inadequate. Socially, of course, it’s entirely a different story. But that, in large part, is because the oligarchs generally only care about social issues to the degree that they can be used to trick people into voting to make the rich richer.

  30. “the liberals campaign from the left and govern from the centre” (old canadian adage). it was the ndp in saskatchewan in 1962 that brought about the first government operated universal single payer medical insurance plan in north america. economy: agrarian, population (1962): 900,000.

    imo its too early to write off trump and/or the trump effect on the coming midterms. search of google today 2022-08-18 @ 22:30 on the string “did the fbi just elect trump” (a nyt headline earlier this week) & top 3 returns are :-

    “Rather than sink Donald Trump, the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid could save him” (the guardian, a day ago)

    “Trump looks to seize on feud with FBI as critical court hearing looms” (cnn, 4 hours ago)

    “Trump rakes in millions off FBI search at Mar-a-Lago” (the washington post, 12 hours ago)

    until he’s convicted he’s eligible.

    for some reason i feel it necessary to state here & now that i do not support trump: i called my cat “donald” for four years when he was bad, “the donald” (the full definite article form of address) when he was very bad. -a.v.

  31. some other elections coming up :-
    September :
    – Parliamentary elections in Sweden.
    – Regional and local elections in Czech Republic.
    October :
    – Parliamentary elections in Latvia & Bosnia-Herzegovina.
    – Presidential election in Slovenia.
    – Regional & local elections in Germany & Poland.
    November :
    – Regional local elections in Slovenia.

  32. the ndp are the left in canada.

    “Tommy Douglas, the former Saskatchewan premier who is credited with being the founding father of Canada’s health-care system, was named … the winner in the CBC’s [2004] Greatest Canadian contest.”

    not trudeau pere, not lester “middle power u.n. peacekeeping champ” pearson, not some “father of confederation”, not a general, not a hockey player (wayne gretzky) … but the ndp leader & medicare founder.

    The socialist politician was chosen by CBC viewers as the Canadian who has had the most profound impact on the country’s history”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *