“Ideological Ambiguity, Issue Blurring & Party Dissent: The Electoral Decline of the Populist Italian Five Star Movement”

James F. Downes and Nicola Palma argue that Italian Five Star Movement’s (M5S) future as a governing party is uncertain. Drawing on data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey (2014, 2017 and 2019 waves), they argue that M5S’s recent electoral decline post – 2018 can be explained by a combination of factors, namely: (a) M5S’s ‘ideologically ambiguous’ nature, ( b) M5S’s issue blurring on key issues, (c) M5S’s increasing internal party factions (dissent) over ideological issues and (d) the ‘clear’ (clarity) stances adopted by their right-wing electoral competitors, in the form of Lega and Brothers of Italy.

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