Much to my surprise a blog post of mine from the future popped up in my electronic mail box. As it describes the results of this coming September’s Austrian General Election I thought it might be helpful to share it now.
Electorate votes for change
Pollsters had been warning in the months leading up to the General Election that below the headline figures there were record levels of ‘churn’ between the Parties. The electorate were said to be more volatile than at any time in the Second Republics history, the Parties could not take support for granted, and there were significant shift taking place amongst urban younger voters. They had also noted that the number of people with an optimist view of the future far outweighed those who thought Austria was in decline.
So whilst the poll may have been wide of the make in predicting this weeks’ General Election result they were right about the causes of the biggest shake-up in Austrian politics.
Looking at the exit poll data it seems clear that things could have been worst for the outgoing Grand Coalition SPÖ/ÖVP but for the strength of their respective party machines in being able to ‘get their vote out’. While both lost support to other parties their percentage of previous supporters staying at home was relatively low. One additional positive note for the coalition parties was that both had some success in attracting voters away from the FPÖ but these gains were not enough to offset defections to other challengers.
The Greens will be particularly pleased that while making gains in the urban areas they also made small inroads into the rural/urban fringe. Their success in taking votes from both the (conservative) ÖVP and (Social Democrat) SPÖ would have produced an even better result but for the fact that many of their liberal supporters switch to either NEOS or the Pirates.
Scandals, infighting and a negative message seem to have accounted for the poor performances of the three Parties of the Far-Right/Populist-Right.
Despite the millions of Euros spent since the launch of Team Stronach back in September 2012, the Party just wasn’t able to stretch its appeal beyond the protest vote – support coming primarily form previous non-voters and former BZÖ voters.
The FPÖ story at this general election remained the same as that at the early State elections. Former older votes primarily staying at home or switching to SPÖ or ÖVP, younger voters turned decisively to the Greens and new parties.
One prediction the polls got right was the collapse of the BZÖ. Like many of their MP’s, voters primarily switched allegiance to Team Stronach.
By building a broad Liberal Centrist base the new party NEOS has been one of the big success stories of the election campaign. By using social media and building strong networks the Party has been able to attract primarily urban votes from the ÖVP, Greens and to a lesser extent the SPÖ. With a tiny budget but a committed membership they have been able to achieve the same result as the multi-million euro campaign of Team Stronach.
Finally and much to many people surprise, especially after the poor showing of their sister party in Germany, the Austrian Pirate Party gained enough support to secure seats in the national Parliament.
Austrian General Election Result (September 2013)
An interesting set of results but whether this blog post is from our reality or one of the many alternatives we will have to wait until the 29th September 2013 to find out 🙂