janvier 18, 2021
Ecrit par WID.world

Political Cleavages in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland

Historical Political Cleavages and Post-Crisis Transformations in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, 1953-2020

 

In this paperLuis Bauluz, Amory Gethin, Clara Martínez-Toledano and Marc Morgan combine post-electoral surveys to analyze the transformation of the structure of political cleavages in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland over the last decades. They document a progressive decline of class cleavages in Italy and Spain and an exacerbation of class divisions in Portugal and Ireland since the onset of the 2008 crisis. In spite of their strong religious and regional divisions, Italy and Spain present growing support for social democratic, socialist, and affiliated parties among highest-educated voters, while top-income earners have remained more supportive of conservative parties, leading to the emergence of “multi-elite party systems”. Portugal and Ireland have instead remained with their “class-based party systems”, marked by the polarization of mainstream parties in Portugal, the rise of Sinn Féin in Ireland, and the exceptional absence of strong far-right parties in both countries.

 

Key findings

 

  • Class cleavages have progressively disappeared in Italy and Spain, while they have exacerbated in Portugal and Ireland since the onset of the 2008 crisis.
  • Italy and Spain present growing support for social democratic, socialist, and affiliated parties among highest-educated voters, while top-income earners have remained more supportive of conservative parties, leading to the emergence of “multi-elite party systems”. (Figures 2 and 4)
  • The emergence of new anti-elite challenger parties (e.g., Podemos in Spain, Movimento 5 Stelle in Italy), liberal parties (e.g., Ciudadanos in Spain), and right-nationalist anti-immigration parties (e.g., Lega in Italy, VOX in Spain) has led to a shift in the vote from traditional parties to these new parties among the young, and a disproportionate increase in the vote share of the “new left” among the highest educated. (Tables 1 and 2)
  • Portugal and Ireland have instead remained with their “class-based party systems”, marked by the polarization of mainstream parties in Portugal, the rise of Sinn Féin in Ireland, and the exceptional absence of strong far-right parties in both countries. (Figures 7 and 10)

 

 

Figure: Historical Political Cleavages and Post-Crisis Transformations in Italy

 

 

Emergence of a multi-elite party system in Italy, World Inequality Lab

The figure shows the relative support of university graduates and top-income earners for social democratic / socialist / communist / green parties / the M5S. In the 1950s-1960s, highest-educated and top-income voters were less likely to vote for left-wing parties than low-income and lower-educated voters. The left-wing vote has gradually become associated with higher-educated voters, giving rise to a “multi-elite party system”. Estimates control for income/education, age, gender, religion, church attendance, employment status, marital status, union membership, location, and region.

 

Contacts

Authors

Media inquiries

téléchargements