As Kurier newspaper highlights today, the far-Right FPÖ are on the defensive after the emergence of a new centre-right competitor. Whilst the recent dramatic fall in their support has levelled out – for now – the strategists of the FPÖ are seeking to concentrate on ‘old favourites’ in an attempt to stem further losses, particularly to the newly launched Team Stronach.
As the opinion polls table below shows, the FPÖ has lost over 6% of its support since January. This has primarily been as a consequence of a wave of scandals finally damaging the Party. Now they face a new centre-right challenge from the Anglo-Canadians billionaire, Frank Stronach, and his ‘Team Stronach’ Party. Polling evidence suggests this new competitor has the ability to take a significant chunk of the remaining FPÖ vote.
Average across five current opinion polls and change since January 2012
|Poll Average Now||Average Jan 2012||Change|
To counter the threat, the FPÖ are once again playing the anti-asylum card hard again having more recently tried to focus on an anti-EU line. The problem they face is that whilst this approach has had success for the Party in the past there is evidence that it might actually drive some supports over to Team Stronach and further limit the chances of the Party recapturing voters who have already deserted them.
Interesting I note in the article that FPÖ strategists are, for now, avoiding directly attacking Frank Stronach as he is viewed positively by many of their voters.
FPÖ strategists are also trying to revive the idea that the general election next year will be about whether they or the SPÖ (Social Democrats) can come out on top. This looks less credible with both the emergence of ‘Team Stronach’ and the fact that the FPÖ are behind the (conservative) ÖVP in recent opinion polls.
|Polling sources:||IMAS/Krone 26-10-12|