The Contribution of Public Opinion Polls to the Understanding of the 1953 Elections in Italy, West Germany, and Japan

Thayer, James R.
September 1955
Public Opinion Quarterly;Fall55, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p259
Academic Journal
This article focuses on the contribution of public opinion polls to the to the understanding of the 1953 elections in Italy, West Germany and Japan. In each case the relevant public opinion polling data are presented and evaluated in terms of their contribution to our understanding of electoral behavior. It seems that the Italian have been particularly valuable in explaining the opinion of the people on the new and controversial electoral law sponsored by the Christian Democrats. The polls show that the electoral law, despite the mass of publicity surrounding it, did not reach and thus directly move the great mass of the people. The lukewarm to antagonistic attitude of tile supporters of the small parties in the center coalition to the measure is of great interest. It may be that the relaxation of tensions between the East and the West does account for some of the increase in the Nenni Socialist ranks, but the polling data is not conclusive. The polls clearly indicate that the Nenni Socialists are the party with the highest proportion of people who feel that coexistence between the East and the West is possible. The polls also indicate that the death of Joseph Stalin, Marxist revolutionary and dictator of Russia raised the hopes of many of the Italians that a lasting peace might be achieved. Whatever may have been the unconscious effect of these factors, few of the leftist voters consciously attribute their gains to any such international factor.


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