On the basis of the data we collected in Italy between the end of January 2018 and the first week of February 2018, and our own analysis, we reiterate that a future M5-led government remains a very plausible scenario, at least as likely as a centre-right victory, in our view. The centre-right is indeed very popular, although we have not noticed a pick-up in the approval rating since our survey last summer. The support for PD has dropped further since then and, for the first time, we note that a wide share of its electorate is so disillusioned that many may not go to vote this time.
As always, we interviewed people across income distribution, across the country and over the 18-to-75 years age spectrum. We usually interview only active voters, but this time we created a tiny sample of non-voters to assess what would encourage that segment of the electorate re-engage and whether their perceptions were materially different from the voting public. The results show that, while the economic data signal a rather brisk recovery, the country is getting older, more tired and increasingly disillusioned in reality. Those that plan not to vote, do so because they do not feel represented nor heeded at all in terms of their needs and desires. Their answers were not materially different from most, but their disillusionment was one step worse than those that will show up to vote anyway.
In terms of policy priorities, there is overwhelming support for supporting entrepreneurs and job creation, a thorough tax reform and cutting the retirement age. Increasing spending on the healthcare system and education were the next two most commonly cited priorities, followed by a reduction in the VAT rate.
We discussed the housing market again in this survey, and the results suggest that the current stabilisation is very frail as there is practically no upward structural demand. Those that would like to buy a house are cut off from the market, and those that have the cash are not in a rush to get on the ladder. Rents are seen universally as too high for what they offer.
The perception of the EU(ro) has not improved: it remains largely negative, but a solid majority stated clearly that they believe it is largely impossible to exit the Eurozone, or simply too costly probably. This confirms that all parties did well in rephrasing their positions, in our view, and they have stated that Italy will first engage in dialogue to change the EU; we will see how things evolve going forward. #ChangingItaly #ChangingEurope
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