Angry Enough to Abstain? Turnout, Political Discontent and the Economic Crisis in the 2013 Elections
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One of the most dramatic results of the 2013 Italian Parliamentary
elections was the sharp decline in turnout. The economic crisis in an unclear political setting has exacerbated the diffusion of political detachment among the electorate. What is interesting is how negative feelings towards the political system and politicians are related to the decision to desert the ballot box and whether these effects have changed in the recent electoral rounds. Our article analyzes the connection between nonvoting and political discontent in times of crisis. Survey results show that: a) non-voting has become more unequal in its social and geographical distribution; b) political discontent is negatively related to the propensity to vote, even though this effect of demobilization depends on the dimension of discontent taken into account (only ideological distance and dislike for candidates effectively contribute to lower turnout); c) the interaction with the level of exposure to the crisis is not significant: people who are particularly hurt by the negative economic climate vote to a lesser extent but the effect is weak and the interaction with political discontent is not significant.