Monthly Archives: July 2012

The fascinating and entertaining ‘aliens’ who live in my garden

One of the many dragonflies, which spend so much time dancing and darting around my garden pond, flew into the middle of a water fight this morning. Unharmed it sat on the stalk of a plant drying off for long enough for me to grab my camera and get some pictures:

Below the surface of the water the pond is teeming with life including dragonfly in the nymph phase of their life cycle, which I understand can take up to 4 years to complete. Occasionally one of the larger nymphs will scurry into view, as it moves between leaf cover on the bottom of the pond, look for all the world life an extra from an alien movie. If you look carefully at the leaves and stalks of the plants that reach up above the surface of the water you can see the husks of these alien creatures, left behind after the dragonfly has emerged:

I’m not the only one for enjoys the dragonfly. Leicester the cat gets regard exercise chasing them around the garden.

Very occasionally he actually catches one and will then happily sit in front of me crunching away:

The pond is an enjoyable place to sit but its bigger value is to the local wildlife and we have a healthy population of frogs and toads in the garden. These wonderful amphibians are excellent at helping to keep the slug population under control. The pond also helps to attract an increased range of birds and mammals to the garden.

I’ve posted some additional pic’s of the dragonfly, other visitors and pond here

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Filed under Garden Pond, Green, Vienna Life, Water, Wildlife

Coalition Parties 1 : 0 Opposition Parties – Half Time

The political winners in Austria over the first six months of 2012 have been the ruling Coalition. Both Parties have maintained their poll ratings since January whilst the combined share of the polls enjoyed by the opposition Parties in parliament has declined by 4.60%.

Table – Change in polls since January 2012

Polls Av Now Jan-12 Change
SPO 28.80% 28.60% 0.20%
OVP 23.80% 23.80% 0.00%
FPO 24.00% 26.60% -2.60%
Greens 12.80% 13.60% -0.80%
BZO 3.60% 4.80% -1.20%
Others 7.00% 2.60% 4.40%

Two new polls were published in the last weekend of June, both of which show the same positive trend for the governing Coalition in Austria as surveys earlier in the month.

ATV/Hajek 29-06-12

Profil/Karmasin 30-06-12

In my rolling poll of the last five surveys, the SPÖ (Social Democrats) has a clear lead in first place over its main two rivals. Whilst its (conservative) junior partner in government the ÖVP is now neck & neck with the Far-Right FPÖ for second place. The Greens remain steady at around 13% and there has been a slight improvement in the poll ratings of the BZÖ but the (more moderate) Far-Right (or Right-wing Conservative – take your pick) still looks likely to fail to reach the 4% bar needed to secure seats in parliament.

Table – Average rating from 5 most recent polls

Polls GE 2008 Change
SPO 28.80% 29.3% -0.50%
OVP 23.80% 26% -2.20%
FPO 24.00% 17.5% 6.50%
Greens 12.80% 10.4% 2.40%
BZO 3.60% 10.7% -7.10%
Others 7.00% 6.1% 0.90%
Note 1: Pirates only   appeared seperately in Gallup polls
Note 2: Pirates   incorporated into Others in above table until they appear in all polls
Pirates 6.20% 0.0% 6.20%
Sources: Karmasin/Profil 30-06-12
ATV/Hajek 29-06-12
Karmasin/Heute 18-06-12
Gallup 16-06-12
Gallup 12-06-12

The ATV poll has hit the headlines for the number of ‘don’t knows and won’t vote’ which I’ve blogged about here


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Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

‘Don’t knows and won’t votes’ – Democracy waits for vision and courage

The most recent ATV/Hajek poll found 39% of respondents (more than ever) saying they were undecided or won’t vote when asked which Austrian political party they would vote for in a general election. If 61% was to be the turnout for next year’s parliamentary election then this would represent a dramatic drop in participation since the 2008 general election in which 78.8% of the electorate voted.

Polling suggests that a majority (58%) of voters want the traditional parties to work better, whilst 15% say Austria needs a new party. The latter is similar to the finds of other research over the last few years.

For the newly emerged Pirates Party the research suggests that they have around 3% strong support with a further soft ‘maybe’ potential of 9%. This seems to fit with the recent range of results in Gallup Austria’s polling which specifically names the Pirates when asking about polling intentions.

If the next election has the potential to be one of low voter turnout then the traditional Parties will be tempted to focus (as they seem to have done increasingly in general elections) on mobilising their core vote rather than seeking to attract voters who are less likely to turnout on the day. One consequence of this is generally more negative campaigning, which in itself drives down turnout amongst floating/undecided voters.

The interesting question is ‘do any of the traditional Parties have the vision and the courage to run a genuinely positive campaign?’ The potential for one or more of the traditional Parties to break the logjam of Austrian politics is there but the risk of losing ground to their rivals seems to scare too many strategists.

As for the new movements, waiting in the wings, believing they can tap into the 39% and the floating voters within the remaining 61%. The clock is ticking. These are members of the electorate that need to be motivated not just on the question of who to vote for but also to actually bothering to vote. Turning up on the electoral field of play at the time of an election may make a momentary splash but it’s unlikely to create a wave to sweep you passed the established well organised Parties in the current political climate.

Well the reality then is likely to be that the ‘trad’s’ will be defensive and the ‘newies’ too late to make an impact. So with the exception of the BZÖ dropping out and the Pirates getting a few seats, the next Parliament is going in all likelihood to be elected on a low turnout with a three way split and the Greens in an honourable fourth place – in short no real change……..unless of course someone has some vision and courage (and political realism).

The ATV/Hajek poll:

SPÖ 30%, ÖVP 25%, FPÖ 25%, Greens 12%, BZO 5%, Others 3%

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Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics