The State elections in Lower Austria and Kärnten, held on the 3rd March 2013, have produced only small tremors but as yet no earthquake in the national opinion polls. However the political analysis of the aftermath, combined with the coverage of infighting and reassessments in some parties, may well accelerate various trends in the coming weeks.
For the SPÖ (Social Democrats) the big win in Kärnten has contributed to a small percentage point movement upwards giving them 28% and 28% in the two polls since the elections.
Retaining its absolute majority in Lower Austria has seen the ÖVP (conservatives) consolidate its position as the second party in the polls with 24% & 25% respectively.
The crisis ridden FPÖ (far-Right) will probably be pleased that after the catastrophe in Kärnten and the poor performance in Lower Austria that their share of the vote has not significantly dropped, scoring 21% and 20%. However, even before the disaster of 3rd March they had already seen their position eroding over the last twelve months. Their leadership will be holding even more crisis meetings if (as seems quite likely) their poll ratings move regularly below the 20% mark.
Despite some progress in the two State elections the Green party (centre-left) will be concerned that the national polls have them back on 13% and 13%. This is up on their last general election performance of 10.4% but is down on the 15% they were scoring in some polls a few months ago.
Team Stronach (populist – right of centre) had particularly high levels of press coverage in the two State elections but only scored moderate results of 9.8% in Lower Austria and 11.2% Kärnten. The coverage and results have given them a 2 point boost nationally, 11% and 10%.
The story of the other party currently in the Austrian Federal parliament, the BZÖ, still looks like one of slow death. However, the coverage of the campaign in Kärnten has given them a 1 point lift 3% and 2% in the two most recent polls.
Current average based upon last five polls:
SPÖ: 27.6%, ÖVP: 24.6%, FPÖ 21.4%, Greens 13.0%, Team Stronach: 9.6%, BZÖ 1.8%, Others 2.0%
Percentage variation across last five polls:
SPÖ: 27%-28%, ÖVP: 24%-25%, FPÖ 20%-23%, Greens 12%-14%, Team Stronach: 8%-11%, BZÖ 1%-3%