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Le conoscenze politiche dell'elettore italiano: una mappa cognitiva

  • Abstract

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By analysing the comments about old and new Italian parties made by a sample of citizens after the 1996 election, the author explores how Italian voters organise their beliefs about parties and, in general, about politics. The paper claims that there have been some recent changes in the way voters develop their political attitudes. The first issue concerns the greater attention that citizens seem to pay now to the leaders of major parties: all interviewees gave special emphasis to their personal traits and characteristics. A second more general finding is that respondents showed to have little familiarity with the new parties' programs and policy stances. Even if the electoral campaign actually focused on many policy issues, the impact of campaigning on the voters' knowledge of issues has been quite limited. This suggests that the process of learning which started after the radical changes of the early 1990s has not yet been completed and citizens need more time to fully understand the new political proposal.

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