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:
Austrian General Election Result 2013 – % share of vote
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.