Opinion polls reflect disillusionment with the centre-left coalition

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Opinion polls reflect disillusionment with the centre-left coalition

28 Maggio 2007

A year
after the narrow victory of Romano Prodi’s multiparty coalition in the general
elections, two out three Italians are disappointed with the work of his
government. According to an opinion poll published by the Corriere della Sera,
20 percent of those interviewed stated that the government had done “a very bad
job”. A further 45 percent declared that they were “somewhat disappointed” with
the performance of the governing coalition. It is important to note that the
level of dissatisfaction goes right to the heart of the coalition’s electoral
base with four out of ten of last year’s centre-left voters now being critical
of the government.

Mr Prodi
may get some consolation from the fact that a year after the centre-right’s
victory in 2001, opinion polls for Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition showed equally
poor results. However, it needs to be taken into account that the first year of
Mr Berlusconi’s government (2001-2002) was characterized by a global economic
downturn whereas Mr Prodi inherited a strong international recovery which
should have made life for his government much easier.

Still more
worrying, from the centre-left’s point of view, is the lack of enthusiasm for
the Partito Democratico (Pd) which is meant to be founded in October and will
be made up of the Democratici di Sinistra (Ds) and the Margherita. According to
the Corriere della Sera, the Pd would only pull about 23-24 percent of the vote
whereas the Ds and the Margherita as separate parties would score 25-26 percent
together. Thus, the new party which was supposed to reinvigorate the Italian
centre-left might actually be a political own goal.

Apart from
being unhappy with their government, Italians also show a widespread disappointment
with parliament and with the political class in general. No less than 80
percent believe that politicians have no interest in the real problems of the
country and that they are only interested in the people’s votes. Furthermore,
58 percent of those surveyed say that they feel “mistrust, disgust or anger”
towards the country’s politicians and 25 percent simply feel completely indifferent
about the current political situation.