2004 D. Baldassarri and H.M.A. Schadee “Il fascino della coalizione. Come e perche' le alleanze elettorali influenzano il modo in cui gli elettori interpretano la politica,” Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 34, 2: 249-276 . En. title: “The Appeal of Coalitions: How and Why Electoral Alliances Affect Voters’ Political Understanding.”
ABSTRACT: Changes in the electoral and party system at the beginning of the ’90s had several effects on the attitudes and behavior of ordinary Italian citizens. Based on public opinion surveys, the article studies how voters perceive and interpret the political landscape and electoral competition. Three main results can be shown. First, with respect to the self-placement on the left-right dimension, Italian voters “discovered the right”. Second, party locations on the left-right continuum became an unsettled aspect of the electoral competition: in particular, citizen's perception of party placement changes according with the overall pattern of their alliances. Finally, several cues suggest that the center-left and center-right alliances (and their candidates) have become important reference objects. Specifically, at least a fourth of Italian voters deploy a judgmental logic based on a “amicus/hostis” criterion: they are positively biased in favor of parties and leaders affiliated with the coalition they prefer, and, specularly, they are negatively biased toward those that belong to the opposite alliance. We suggest this being an easy, although effective shortcut for reducing the complexity of electoral choice.