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Italy’s right won election, but watch out for 5 stars, pollsters say


By Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante

ROME, September 23 (Reuters)Italy’s right-wing bloc led by Giorgia Meloni is set to win Sunday’s election, but voter sentiment has changed in the past two weeks and surprises should not be ruled out, pollsters say.

Since the publication of opinion polls was banned two weeks ago, the left-wing Unaligned 5 Star Movement appears to have made significant progress while the right-wing League is struggling, according to seven pollsters interviewed by Reuters.

Matteo Salvini’s League is the main ally of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, which has probably consolidated its most popular position of strength ahead of Enrico Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), according to pollsters.

In terms of the overall outcome, most said the likelihood of the right winning a majority in both houses of parliament and forming the next government has diminished somewhat due to the rise in 5 stars, but that is still by far the outcome. most likely.

“Nothing should be ruled out,” said Renato Mannheimer, head of polling agency Eumetra. “I would put the probability of a right-wing majority at 60-65%, which was down from around 80% three weeks ago.”

All other pollsters saw less chance of being upset. Their estimates on the probability of a conservative victory varied from 70% up to 100% predicted by Federico Benini, head of the Winpoll agency.

LEFT SPLIT

At the time of the ballot blackout on September 10, most polls put Italy’s Brothers at around 24% and the combined conservative bloc – also including the League and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia – at around 46%.

His victory was seen as assured due to divisions on the left, including the collapse shortly before the start of the campaign of an alliance between the PD and former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s 5 Star Movement.

That right-wing win script remains firmly in place, pollsters said, despite signs of progress for 5-Star which was in deep crisis until a few months ago but is now expected to vastly overtake the League as a third most popular party.

Conte has moved 5 stars to the left and appears to be reaping the rewards of a campaign focused on vigorously defending his flagship “citizens income” anti-poverty program whose beneficiaries are concentrated in southern Italy.

“Conte had a very good campaign and barely took the wrong foot,” said Fabrizio Masia, head of EMG Different agency.

Nonetheless, most pollsters agreed that the split between 5 Stars and the PD would ruin both parties’ chances in the third of parliamentary seats allocated by a first-past-the-post system. We see them going almost entirely to the united right.

The rest of the seats are allocated by proportional representation.

“Even the growth of 5 stars, unless it is phenomenal, appears insufficient to prevent the centre-right from imposing itself”, estimates Lorenzo Pregliasco, boss of the YouTrend agency.

Masia said the Tories could only be stopped by a 5-star “push” coupled with an increase in support for the centrist “Action” party to around 10%, stealing votes from the right. Before the polls were suspended, they had Action on about 6.5%.

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(Writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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