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.