According to the penalty hypothesis, primaries are considered damaging for parties because of the social and political distinctiveness of the electorate, who usually choose unpalatable candidates for the median voter in general elections. This article deals with two leader selections organised by the Italian Partito Democratico (PD) in 2007 and 2009. Using survey data, voters' characteristics in the two primaries relating to the 2008 parliamentary elections are contrasted in order to find out the differences between the two selectorates and the general electorate. Then, the attitudes of the winners' and losers' supporters in primary elections are compared. Although not definitive, the results contradict the primary penalty thesis. Even if the data point out some relevant differences between selectors and electors, the losers' supporters do not seem to be demobilised by the primary results.

Bringing voters back in leader selection: the open primaries of the Italian Democratic Party

SEDDONE, ANTONELLA;VENTURINO, FULVIO
2013

Abstract

According to the penalty hypothesis, primaries are considered damaging for parties because of the social and political distinctiveness of the electorate, who usually choose unpalatable candidates for the median voter in general elections. This article deals with two leader selections organised by the Italian Partito Democratico (PD) in 2007 and 2009. Using survey data, voters' characteristics in the two primaries relating to the 2008 parliamentary elections are contrasted in order to find out the differences between the two selectorates and the general electorate. Then, the attitudes of the winners' and losers' supporters in primary elections are compared. Although not definitive, the results contradict the primary penalty thesis. Even if the data point out some relevant differences between selectors and electors, the losers' supporters do not seem to be demobilised by the primary results.
Primary elections, Leader selection, Political parties, Electoral behaviour, Italian politics
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/94923
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