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Gianfranco Baldini and Guido Legnante

On 29 November and 13 December 1998, elections were held for

the renewal of fifty-eight municipal councils in towns comprising

more than 15,000 inhabitants, as well as of four provincial administrations.

The feature that most caught the attention of politicians

and commentators, apart from changes in the political balance of

the coalitions, was the turnout for these elections. For the first time

in the electoral history of republican Italy, non-voters in the provincial

elections in some cases amounted to more than 50 percent of

the electorate. Largely blamed for this fall in electoral participation

was the frequency with which voters had been recently called to

the polling booths; and this accelerated the process of modifying

the law on the direct election of the mayor, it being proposed,

amongst other things, that all the administrative elections should

be combined into a single annual round of voting.

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Making (a) Difference

Paperwork and the Political Machine

Alexander Thomas T. Smith

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Dumfries and Galloway, this article describes how Conservative Party activists put a variety of discursive artefacts to work as they sought to mass produce and distribute leaflets during the 2003 local Government and Scottish Parliament elections. The leaflet, called In Touch, rendered explicit the need to demonstrate that a political candidate and political party are connected (in touch) with a wider community. This leaflet was therefore designed to invoke a set of connections between person (the candidate), place (the Council Ward/community) and political party (the Conservatives) that might register with even the most disinterested elector. At the same time, the production of these leaflets facilitated the generation of an activist network amongst the party's volunteer base, which exhausted itself by the time Polling Day passed. I argue that addressing logistical and organizational questions - that is, activist methodology - in the production of the In Touch leaflet focused the attention of political activists more than the 'issues' on which they intended to campaign, which were 'found' or 'produced' as artefacts or contrivances of activist labour. In addressing such questions, Tory strategists hoped to 'make (a) difference' given that they tended to view previous campaigns to have been executed in an amateur and disorganized fashion. Through the sheer scale of their production and distribution throughout Dumfries and Galloway, it was hoped that the In Touch leaflets would produce social as well as electoral effects.

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Introduction

Merkeldämmerung

Eric Langenbacher

delegates and (re-elected with 82 percent in December 2017). 5 Polling from February to April 2017, had the party at or above 30 percent—at one point even with or slightly ahead of the cdu . 6 But, from May onwards the party began to slip in the polls. Its

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Sarah Wiliarty and Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

would you vote for if the election were this coming Sunday?”—sees the cdu / csu receiving around 39 to 40 percent of the vote (up from 32.9 percent at the 2017 election and a low of 26 percent as recently as March). The AfD is polling around 8 to 9

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Dan Brockington

validity of political polling, how we measure and monitor the world is increasingly on the agenda. The prevalence of measurement is also partly due to the new possibilities and ways of knowing that are now being revealed through “big data” that track social

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Introduction

Pegida as a European Far-Right Populist Movement

Helga Druxes and Patricia Anne Simpson

relationships between single-issue protest phenomena, such as Pegida, and emerging parties with political momentum, such as AfD, overlap in Venn-diagram fashion with regard to immigration. Polling data reveal that AfD voters, for example, express concerns about