The most recent opinion poll, I’ve seen, puts the far-right FPÖ only one point behind the centre-left SPÖ. The 28% share of the vote is the highest percentage achieved by the FPÖ since the spring and along with other polls would suggest that they are recovering from a scandal ridden summer which had seen their vote yo-yo between 22% and 27%.
Meanwhile the SPÖ score of 29% remains consistent with figures across the polls this autumn which have shown them receiving a 29% – 30% share of the national vote.
This specific Gallup Austria survey for Oe24.at shows virtually no movement in support for the various parties since the last equivalent poll: SPÖ 29% (-/+0), ÖVP 22% (-1), FPÖ 28% (+1), Greens 13% (-/+0), BZÖ 5% (-/+0). Its significance, if not a blip, is that it puts the combined far-right vote (FPÖ/ BZÖ) back over the 30% mark compared to other recent polls. Whilst the combined centre-left vote (SPÖ/Green) is down three points on the same comparison.
The analysis of these results on the neuwal website suggests that, where it to be the actual result of an Austrian general election, it would allow the current ruling Grand coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and conservatives (ÖVP) to continue. The ÖVP would have the option of forming an alternative coalition with the FPÖ, an option that would also be open to the SPÖ. Whilst the former is conceivable the latter would be highly unlikely. An SPÖ/Green alliance would fail to muster sufficient seats to achieve the 92 required to secure a majority in parliament.
The neuwal analysis of seat distribution always comes with the caveat that it does not take into account regional variations. As voting patterns and opinion ratings for the parties do vary significantly across the nine states, that form the Austrian Federal State, these variations could have a major impact come the 2013 election.
Since writing this piece I have seen this second poll in der Standard which also shows the SPÖ & FPÖ neck and neck, but this time with both Parties are on 27%. Meanwhile the percentage for the ÖVP is higher at 24%, whilst the figures for the Greens 13% and BZÖ 5% remain the same.
So as we go into November the two polls would seem to be suggesting that the race for first spot is back on and the other three parties are stuck at their average performance figures for the year. It will be interesting to see the figures when we reach December. I’m not convinced that these two polls are indicative of what will happen next. But I could be wrong and that’s what makes life interesting.