Monthly Archives: May 2014

Stay with me…..Voter retention, EP2014 Austria – election note 3

Voter analysis by the SORA Institute shows that the parties campaigns had limited impact in persuading 2009 non-voters to make the trip to the ballot box – 89% continued to stay at home.

The volatility of the FPÖ vote is highlight once again in the as they come bottom in the voter retention league table.

Main parties – retention of EP2009 voters in EP2014:


% of support retained

SPÖ – Social Democrats (Governing Coalition)


ÖVP – conservatives (Governing Coalition)


Grüne – centre-left


FPÖ – Far-Right Populist


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Note: NEOS (Liberal-Centrist) not included in table as the party was only formed in 2012.



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Poor return on investment in EU2014 for Austria’s main parties

This piece in the Österreich newspaper caught my eye, 12.8m spent on the EU election.

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When you do the sums for each party it produces a rather depressing answer to the question ‘How important was the party war chest in securing the votes’.

2014-05-28 09.14.25

‘Money talks’ is not a new story. But for strategists, PR consultants and campaign managers, for all five of the main parties in Austria, the table below is stark evidence that their EU campaigns failed to outperform their opponents.

Result 14 €/1%
24.1 3307 137
27 3705 137
19.7 2707 137
14.5 1987 137
8.1 1116 138


So at party HQ’s in recent days has the message been recognised? Are campaign strategies being revisited and policies reviewed? Or are the various leaderships content to play politics of ‘high investment for low returns’ in which results rely of the war chest?

If Frank Stronach did one thing for Austrian politics at the last general election it was to demonstrate that actually ‘money won’t guarantee votes’, you need policies and a decent campaign. The upcoming State elections, in the next twelve months, will give the parties the chance try to break through the € barrier. The ‘return on investment’ in campaigning might just be worth it.


2014-05-25 09.39.21



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Comparing Austria EP2014 results with GE2013 & EP2009 – election note 1

Austrian EP2014 results and change from previous elections:

Party EP 2014 Result Change from General Election 2013 Change from EP 2009
ÖVP – conservatives (Governing Coalition) 27% +3 -3
SPÖ – Social Democrats (Governing Coalition) 24.1% -2.7 +0.4
FPÖ – Far-Right Populist 19.7% -0.8 +7
Grüne – centre-left 14.5% +2.1 +4.6
NEOS – Liberal-Centrist 8.1% +3.2 *n/a
EU-STOP – Eurosceptic, far-right 2.8% n/a **+2.8
Europa Anders – Alliance of Communists, Pirates, & The Change – Left 2.1% ***+0.3 n/a
REKOS – Eurosceptic, far-right 1.2% n/a n/a
BZÖ – ‘moderate’ FPÖ 0.5% -3.1 -4.1


Not competing in EP 2014 election:

List Martin (Eurosceptic) – EP2009 17.7%

Team Stronach (Populist) – GE2013 5.7%



*Party formed in 2012

**First election

***Figure based on combining Communist & Pirates results.


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What will a good result look like on EU election night in Austria?

Austrian politics in going through a significant period of change, what the new ‘norm’ will look like is very much open to question. That’s why this week’s EU election matters to the Parties more than ever. The general election last September marked the end of the paradigm that has dominated politics here in recent years; the EU election marks the first battle in a struggle for a place in the newly emerging political landscape.

Even before the EU election results are announced the Parties will begin their efforts to spin the results. To help you make sense of the chatter, here is a quick guide to what a good, average or even disastrous result will be for each of the Parties in Austria:



Governing Grand Coalition


The larger of the two parties that form the ruling ‘Grand Coalition’, the Social Democrats are currently polling at around the same figure as they achieved at the last EU election.  To date they have had a good election with their poll ratings up since January.

Good result: Securing 1st place in the polls but with a lower percentage than secured in last year’s General Election.

Bad result: 2nd place with lower percentage than secured in last EU election.

Great result: 1st place in the polls but with 27% or more share of the vote.

Disastrous result: 3rd place.


The junior party in the ruling ‘Grand Coalition’, the conservative People’s Party topped the poll at the last EU election. Their current average rating of 24.4% is down 5.6% on that election result. Since January their polling average has dropped by 1%.

Good result: Retaining 1st place.

Bad result: Coming 2nd with a lower share of the vote than secured in the 2013 General Election.

Great result: Retaining 1st place with a share of the vote above 25%.

Disastrous result: Dropping to 3rd place or 2nd with either NEOS or Greens securing 15% vote share.

Progressive Alternatives (Click for blog post)


The Greens are currently 3.4% up on their last EU election result but have remained unchanged in the polls when compared to January.

Good result: Retaining fourth place and matching their share of the vote in last Septembers General Election.

Bad result: Slipping into fifth place.

Great result: Securing a 15% or more share of the vote.

Disastrous result: Securing less than 12% of the vote and coming fifth.


The Liberal Centrist party broke into the national parliament at the first attempt last September with just under 5% of the vote. Suffered a bad penultimate week of campaigning but looks to be bouncing back in final days. They share with the SPÖ the status of having increase vote share in the polls since January.

Good result: More than doubling their share of the vote compared with the last General Election.

Bad result: Securing less than 10% share of the vote. (Given polling figure in last 6 months anything less would be seen as underperforming)

Great result: Securing fourth place or achieving 15% vote share.

Disastrous result: Securing less than 7% share of the vote.



Currently up by 7.7% on the last EU election (when the List Martin stole the anti-government show and the BZÖ remained a real political force) the FPÖ has seen its average poll rating slip (-2%) compared to its New Year performance.

Good result: Securing 2nd place.

Bad result: 3rd place with a vote share below 25% (Party has no serious Populist competitors this time and last EU election EU-sceptic populists secured 34.96%)

Great result: 1st place with over 25% share of vote.

Disastrous result:  3rd place with a vote share of under 21%


This FPÖ lite party fell out of the national parliament back in September. Their campaign to date has had no impact on the polls and they remain at little over 1%.

Good result: Securing 6th place and 4% vote share.

Bad result: Securing 6th place with less than 3.5% of vote

Great result: Anything over 4%

Disastrous result: Failing to achieve 6th place.


The Reform Conservatives like the BZÖ remain an ‘also run’, stuck on 1%.

Good result: Securing +3% vote share

Bad result: Less than 3% vote share

Great result: Securing 6th place

Disastrous result: Achieving less than 1% vote share.


This ‘lock the borders and throw away the key’ grouping just doesn’t register in this election and isn’t going to provide any surprises.

Good result: Securing 1% of vote share.

Bad result: Less than 1% of vote share

Great result: +1% of vote share

Disastrous result: n/a

The other alternative

Europa Anders

This list is an electoral alliance of the Communist Party, the Pirates and Change. As they have often been included in ‘others’ in the polls it’s a little bit more difficult to track their performance. In the 1st May Gallup poll they achieved their highest ever figure of 3%. They appear to have advanced between 1.5% & 2% since the alliance was formed.

(Note: Back in January I was estimating the Pirates support at around 2% and the Communists at 1%.)

Good result: Securing 6th place

Bad result: Less than 3% vote share.

Great result: Achieving 4% vote share.

Disastrous result: Less than 2.5% vote share.


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In sight of the finishing line and in Austria only the EU looks certain to win

It’s time for the last big push from all the parties before Austria goes to the polls on 25th May in the EU parliamentary elections. How are they doing as we enter the final week?

Current polls

Average figures based on last five EU polls:

  Polls Av Now Euro 2009 Change
SPO 24.6% 23.74% 0.9%
OVP 24.4% 29.98% -5.6%
FPO 20.4% 12.71% 7.7%
Greens 13.3% 9.93% 3.4%
Martin 0.0% 17.67% -17.7%
NEOS 11.8% 0.00% 11.8%
BZO 1.3% 4.58% -3.3%
REKOS 1.0% 0.00% 1.0%
Ander 2.5% 0.00% 2.5%
EU-STOP 0.0% 0.00% 0.0%


Notes: Martin List not contesting this election; EU-STOP not registering in the polls; NEOS contesting first EU election.

Variations in the last five polls:

  Lowest Highest
SPO 23% 26%
OVP 23% 26%
FPO 20% 21%
Greens 12% 16%
NEOS 10% 14%
BZO 1% 2%
REKOS 0% 2%
Ander 1% 3%
EU-STOP 0% 0%


Movement in the polls

The far-Right FPÖ have, after the scandal earlier in the campaign, nudged their poll ratings back into the 20’s but show no signs of advancing. They are -2% in comparison to their January ratings.

All the recent poll movements are between the governing Grand Coalition parties (Social Democrat – SPÖ – and conservative – ÖVP) on one side and the progressives alternatives (Centre left – Greens – and Liberal Centrist – NEOS) on the other.

Currently the strength of the three groupings of progressive alternatives; traditional mainstream; and the populists are:

Polls Av Now
Greens NEOS 25.1%
SPO OVP 49.0%


Good news for pro-EU campaign

Based upon the average figures from the most recent polls, parties with a broadly pro-EU position are up +10.5% against the anti-EU camp in comparison to 2009.

At the last election the EU sceptic camp included the FPÖ, BZÖ, List Martin. Their combined support was 34.96%. So at this stage in the campaign the current sceptic flag wavers are down 12.3%.



Unique Research/profil 17-05-14
Gallup/oe24 15-05-14
Hajek/ATV 15-05-14
Market/DerStandard 14-05-14
OMG/Kurier 11-05-14


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Field trip for crunch match – another away day following FAK

2014-01-08 21.47.25

Not far from the City of Salzburg sits the market down of Grödig, home to our opponents for today’s crunch Austrian Bundesliga (Premiership) match with SV Grödig. The table tells it all; with two games left to play this game may determine whether Austria or our opponents secure European football for next season.

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I was at our last match in Grödig, at the end of November, with a small contingent from the #planetviola fan group. Although the sun shone down the day was less than warming for all the Veilchen. We stood in sub-zero temperatures and watched the team suffer a 1:0 defeat.

The Grödig stadium is distinctive as it sits outside the town surrounded by fields with mountain views to admire while you’re waiting for kick-off. Leaving the bus on the main road, it’s a five minute walk down a road through the fields. Stands on three sides of the stadium block the view of the pitch from outside but if you happen to have a tractor and sat on top of the cab you could watch the game from the field on the fourth side. In England I know some fans moan about stadia becoming increasingly indistinguishable; here we still have fields of dreams with their own unique character.

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2013-11-30 15.04.24


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As already mentioned, this is a crucial game. So far results favour Grödig:

8th round: Austria 2:3 Grödig

17th round: Grödig 1:0 Austria

26th round: Austria 2:0 Grödig

I have to admit to being nervous about today but my prediction is an away win – Grödig 1:2 Austria.

Forza Viola

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Mapping the changes in the inter-party battlegrounds of Austrian politics

I’ve had a go at mapping the inter-party struggles that currently define the world of Austrian politics and the shifts in the battlegrounds since the general election. Think it’s a reasonable depiction:

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Austrian General Election Result 2013 – % share of vote

2014-05-02 12.25.21

Austrian national poll averages 1st May 2014 – % share

The growth of the FPÖ has come from the collapse in support for other Populist parties Team Stronach (TS) and the BZÖ. They are failing to advance against either of the Grand Coalition ruling parties (the Social Democrat, SPÖ, or the conservative ÖVP) despite their current problems.

The growth in support for NEOS (the Liberal Centrists) has seen them pushing, as they did in the General Election, primarily against the ÖVP and Greens. But the battle grounds with the SPÖ are opening up and will be particularly interesting come the 2015 State election in Vienna.

Despite the growth of NEOS, the Greens have made a small advance since the General Election. The battle grounds with the SPÖ will become even more important if NEOS continue to take the centre ground on the left as well as the right. However, a leftward move might risk not just battles grounds with the Pinks but also those with the ÖVP.

The SPÖ faces a continued fight with the FPÖ for the title of ‘Workers Party’. This looks like it will be one of the major battlefield for both parties. The FPÖ is stuck; it’s trying to widen its appeal and believes it can make further advances in this area. The SPÖ seems to want to make a fight of it and could recapture lost ground with the right strategy.  If they fail red squares will be turning blue. But they will also have to address the pressure from both the Greens and the Pinks; it’s going to be a difficult balancing act. Oh yes, those orange squares on the left. Not much of a threat now but move to far in fighting the FPÖ or the centre and the Left might finally find the breathing space they’ve been looking for.

Austrian politics may get stuck at times but its rarely boring.


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