The law on political polling states:
In the 15 days prior to the vote it is forbidden to publish [or to make public] or, by any means, spread the results of polling on the outcome of the elections and on the political leanings and voting intentions of the electors, even if such polls have been taken in a period previous to the prohibition.*
That's very clear. Couldn't be clearer. No polling to be published on voting intentions or political stance, not even old polls. Not no further polling at all, note. No polling to be published. But publication is going to occur, despite the law. Publication is to be restricted. So called 'private' polling and its results will be made available to party leaders and apparatchiks in the greatest of detail. Polls will be undertaken and published like there's no tomorrow - until there is no tomorrow and we have arrived at 24 February. Because what this law is aiming for is censorship. Censorship of polling information to all the voters and its reservation to those who pay for it and only too often consider themselves above the law.
Be that as it may, political polling during this election has displayed so many technical defects that it's best, probably, to consider trends. Universally the trends display a steady decline of the Democratic Party and, most clearly, a decline in any coalition grouping or party besmirched by the suggestion that it might ally with a minority Democratic Party after the elections. Monti and the associated coalition for the Chamber of Deputies - down; Ingroia and Civic Revolution - down; Vendola's SEL (already in formal coalition with the Democratic Party since the great push to defeat Matteo Renzi's centrist leadership in the Democratic Party) - down. Trending steadily up are the People of Freedom coalition (despite Berlusca, or perhaps because of his political presence - and presence of mind- during the campaign) and his political common sense; trending up extraordinarily fast and now in third position, Beppe Grillo and the Five Star anti-political elites movement.
At the start of this (blessedly short) campaign Comrade Bersani made a spectacularly stupid claim (something he has continued to do over the weeks with remarkable staying power). He pointed to an over 40% lead for his ill-gotten Party and said
"I am the hare, so far in front as to be uncatchable." He did, he really did. Angels were saucer-eyed.
For there is one other group of voters trending upwards after beginning to decline last week - the undeclared who are once again more than a third of the electorate, having fallen to a quarter. We will vote; historically Italians do, in the end, despite saying they won't. The turnout is a known, with a tortoise-shaped unknown of outcome-changing size, and a fortnight to go.
* “Nei quindici giorni precedenti la data
delle votazioni è vietato rendere pubblici o, comunque, diffondere i
risultati di sondaggi demoscopici sull’esito delle
elezioni e sugli orientamenti politici e di voto degli elettori, anche
se tali sondaggi sono stati effettuati in un periodo precedente a quello
Comedians talk about philosophers
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