Tag Archives: Austrian General Election

Austrian General Election – Voters switched support but not always in ways you might expect!


Looking at the switch of voters between the parties in the Austrian General Election reveals surprising results. For example:

  • The advance of the FPO was in part limited by a net switch of voters to the Greens.
  • The switch of voters between the SPO and OVP produce a zero net impact.

I’ve been using the Der Standard interactive election graphic to look at SORA voting analysis produced for ORF. It tracks changes in voting behaviour between the 2008 and 2013 election.

I’ve taken the figures from the study and looked at the net movement of voters between each party.

SPÖ

Although they finished the election in first place, the SPÖ saw their share of the vote once more decline. A campaign aimed at maximising their core voter turnout resulted in the retention of 72% of 2008 supporters.

Net voter movements highlights the key problem for the party, the decision of a significant number of previous SPÖ voters not to vote – 173,000 didn’t cast a vote, while only an additional 25,000 former non-voters gave their support to the party this time round.

The switch of voters between the SPÖ and ÖVP produce a zero net impact. Losses to (Populist-Right) Team Stronach were almost balanced off by gains from the (Far-Right) BZÖ.

Net loss of votes 
SPO
Didn’t Vote 148,000
Team  Stronach 48,000
NEOS 23,000
Greens 20,000
FPO 11,000
OVP 0
Net gain of votes
SPO
BZO 40,000
Others 10,000
OVP 0

ÖVP

For the ÖVP the good news stories in the election campaign were second place and retention of 74% of previous 2008 supporters. However, this was an election which saw their share of the vote slip further and the party fail to secure a net positive movement of voters from any of its competitors.

On the Right the ÖVP lost support primarily to Team Stronach while even larger numbers of voters switch to the Centre and Centre-Left.

Net loss of votes 
OVP
NEOS 61,000
Didn’t Vote 52,000
Team Stronach 42,000
Greens 33,000
FPO 4,000
BZO 4,000
SPO 0
Net gain of votes
OVP
Others 26,000
SPO 0

FPÖ

The advance of the FPÖ was almost exclusively achieved by the party attracting approximately a third of 2008 BZÖ voters. They also made small net gains from minor parties voters, the SPÖ and ÖVP.

However, they retained only 69% of their 2008 support and saw net losses to the (Populist-Right) Team Stronach, as well as net losses to the (Centre-Left) Greens and (Centrist-Liberal) NEOS.

Net loss of votes 
FPO
Team Stronach 41,000
Didn’t Vote 27,000
Greens 21,000
NEOS 19,000
Net gain of votes
FPO
BZO 155,000
Others 36,000
SPO 11,000
OVP 4,000

Grünen

The Grünen were able to retain only 63% of their 2008 support with some 57,000 voters switching to the new Centrist Liberal option, NEOS.

However, their overall shares of the vote increased with the party taking 50,000 (net) votes away from the (Far- Right) BZÖ and FPÖ, as well as making progress on the Left with a net movement of 20,000 from the (Centre-Left) SPÖ.

Net loss of votes 
FPO
Team Stronach 41,000
Didn’t Vote 27,000
Greens 21,000
NEOS 19,000
Net gain of votes
FPO
BZO 155,000
Others 36,000
SPO 11,000
OVP 4,000

BZÖ

As predicted by the polls over the last few years, the BZÖ failed to reach the 4% hurdle and crashed out of parliament. They saw swathes of former votes switch to their Far- Right rivals the FPÖ and to a lesser degree former supporters moved to (Populist-Right) Team Stronach. They suffered smaller losses to the (Centre-Left) SPÖ and Greens, as well as to (Centrist Liberal) NEOS.

The net loss of votes to the senior out-going coalition partner sets another unwanted record for the BZÖ – the only party in the former parliament to suffer a net loss of support to the SPÖ.

The only success for the party came in securing small net gains in 2008 voters from ‘Others’ and the junior out-going coalition partner, the (conservative) ÖVP.

Net loss of votes 
BZO
FPO 155,000
Team Stronach 68,000
Didn’t Vote 61,000
SPO 40,000
Greens 30,000
NEOS 21,000
Net gain of votes
BZO
Others 11,000
OVP 4,000

Team Stronach

Team Stronach, formed in September 2012, had secured seats in the last parliament through MP defections.

The election campaign saw the Populist-Right party secure 109,000 votes from amongst 2008 voters who had previously supported the (Far- Right) BZÖ and FPÖ. Team Stronach’s second highest support came from former voters of the (Centre-Left) SPÖ.

The party was the most effective at persuading 2008 non-voters to come out and give their support. However, it was less effective at securing support from those who had previously voted ‘Other’.

Net loss of votes 
Team Stronach
Not formed in 2008
Net gain of votes
Team Stronach
BZO 68,000
SPO 48,000
OVP 42,000
FPO 41,000
Didn’t Vote 29,000
Others 28,000
Greens 14,000

NEOS

The party was formed in October 2012. NEOS achieved election history by being the first new party to enter parliament at the first attempt (without already having seats in parliament).

NEOS provided a new Centrist Liberals alternative and secured its place in parliament by securing support from both Right and Left 2008 voters. In particular, they were effective at attracting support from the (conservative) ÖVP and the (Centre-Left) Greens.

Their success in securing support from 2008 ‘Others’ and ‘Didn’t Vote’ in part reflects support from former Liberal Forum (LIF) votes – NEOS ran on a joint platform with the LIF and the two parties are now planning to merge.

Net loss of votes 
NEOS
Not formed in 2008
Net gain of votes
NEOS
OVP 61,000
Greens 57,000
Others 35,000
Didn’t Vote 24,000
SPO 23,000
BZO 21,000
FPO 19,000

A sad note

The most ‘loyal’ of all voters in the election were the ‘Didn’t Vote’ category. Around 85% did not go and cast their vote again in 2013.

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Opponents, the media, and voters are talking about NEOS – will they be the Election Day sensation?


For a new party to make the  breakthrough and win seats in the Austrian parliament at the first attempt and even go on to join a three party coalition would be a political earthquake. That this could be the story of #NEOS on the 29th September is stirring up the election debate in the final days of the campaign.

 

So is this realistic and is it a significant moment…

Matthias Strolz  of NEOS thinks it is, describing the potential achievement as the ‘Event of the Century’, he may not be far wrong given the challenges of breaking into the system and the fact that the Republic has been governed for the majority of its post war history by the Social Democrat/Conservative Grand Coalition (SPÖ/ ÖVP). Pollsters say it’s not going to be easy but the chance is there.

http://www.xn--sterreich-z7a.at/nachrichten/Schaffen-es-die-NEOS/116627605

I’ve stuck my neck out and am predicting NEOS to secure between 4% and 6% of the vote (4% is required to win seats in parliament).

https://viennalife.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/austrian-general-election-who-will-be-the-winners-on-29th-september-2013/

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 When opponents switch from dismissing you to taking the time to attack or use you to attack another opponent, you’re making an impact:

  • Reds cheer NEOS…..

In parts of the SPÖ, it is hoped that the Neos “many voices” get-because that would certainly weaken the ÖVP and the Green.

In Teilen der SPÖ hofft man, dass die Neos “viele Stimmen” erhalten -denn das würde freilich ÖVP und Grüne schwächen.

http://www.oe24.at/oesterreich/politik/daniel/Neos-werden-zum-Zuenglein-an-der-Wage/116335621

…..but I also know a number of ex- SPÖ supporters who will be voting Pink. The Liberal Centre is broad.

 

  • Erwin Pröll leads the worried ÖVP attack…..

..a foretaste of what was to come in the Republic, when red-green, probably in combination with the Neos, the shots would. This is the reason why it is worth to fight against red-green Neos.

… ein Vorgeschmack darauf, was in der Republik kommen würde, wenn Rot-Grün, wahrscheinlich in Kombination mit den Neos, das Sagen hätte.

http://diepresse.com/home/politik/nrwahl2013/1453421/Erwin-Proell_Absage-an-SchwarzBlauStronach?from=suche.intern.portal

….but it sounds like another reason for more Liberal Greens to switch to NEOS. Green and evidence based policy.

 

  • A desperate BZÖ…..

Bucher for cooperation between liberal forces after the elections – For Strolz an “electoral sham”

Bucher für Kooperation der liberalen Kräfte nach der Wahl – Für Strolz eine “wahltaktische Mogelpackung”

http://derstandard.at/1379291135733/BZOe-will-Plattform-mit-Neos–diese-winken-ab

…but one paper described Bucher’s duel with far-Right FPÖ leader Strache as a ‘Love Show’. Bucher said he could contemplate a coalition with the FPÖ, something NEOS has ruled out.

In the same debate Strache used Bucher’s desperation against him by repeating the name NEOS. Clearly viewing the flirtation with the Centrist Liberal party as a weakness of his fellow right-winger Bucher – as all Liberals know ‘when you are attacked from the Right and from the Left you must be doing something right’.

http://www.oe24.at/oesterreich/politik/Liebes-Show-von-BZOe-und-FPOe/116503782

(Note: Bucher was viewed as ‘winning the debate’).

 

So what do the voters think?

The new Party’s recognition level amongst voters still lags behind the established Parties. However, this is rapidly changing as NEOS have managed to remain an election ‘story’ even without the advantages of State party funding and involvement in the main TV debates.

Polling figures show 19% of the electorate expects NEOS to be one of the election ‘winners’. The polls always seem to lag behind the level of discussion on the street about NEOS. There appears to be a NEOS wave of support growing (certainly in the States of Vienna and Lower Austria – I have no strong networks of non-political contacts in other States). On the 29th September we will discover whether the wave is yet strong enough to cause a pink revolution.

(Note: Pink is the NEOS party colour).

 

 

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Austrian General Election – Who will be the winners on 29th September 2013?


With just over a week to go before the General Election I take a look at the polls and whose campaign has momentum, which is stagnating, which parties are fading away? I also make a few predictions for the results on Election Day.

Here are the current national average ratings for the Parties based upon the last five polls in the press:

SPÖ: 26.6%,  ÖVP: 22.8%,  FPÖ 20.2%,  Greens: 14.2%,  Team Stronach: 7.8%,  BZÖ: 2.9%,  NEOS: 2.9%,  Pirates: 1.0%, Others: 1.6%

The percentage variation across these five polls:

SPÖ: 26% – 27%, ÖVP: 22% – 23%, FPÖ 20 – 21%, Greens 13% – 15%, Team Stronach: 7 – 9%, BZÖ 2% – 4%, NEOS: 2 – 3.5%, Pirates: 1%

 2013-09-20 13.50.07

Trends and predictions

Top spot

It looks like a safe bet that first place will go to the SPÖ even though their poll ratings haven’t moved since the beginning of August and they are slightly down from the 27% rating at the beginning of the year.

The Party had talked in the early stages of the election campaign about breaking the 30% mark but this looks extremely unrealistic after a campaign that has clearly been aimed at their core vote. Despite their consistent lead, party strategists will be concerned to ensure a strong end to the campaign as some reports in the papers talk about difficulties in mobilising their vote, particularly in Lower Austria the country’s largest state.

Prediction – SPÖ retain top spot but with a vote down from 2008 (29.3%) – 25% to 27%

 

Breakthrough

There are three Parties on the ballot paper who are not represented in the outgoing parliament – NEOS, Pirates, and Communists. They face the challenge of competing against Parties who receive State funding and of being excluded from the main election debates on TV. Currently none are achieving a poll average of 4% – the figure needed to enter the next parliament.

Prediction – NEOS will breach the 4% barrier and enter parliament. They have established themselves as credible challengers with many in the media; have successfully made themselves ‘the story’ and in so doing received higher levels of press coverage; the most recent polls have them at 3% to 3.5%. Additionally, my experience of talking to a cross-section of voters from Vienna & Lower Austria (the two largest States) says sympathy is turning into votes (but this continually lags behind the polls). – 4% to 6%

 

Fight for second place

The gap between the ÖVP and FPÖ has narrowed in September. The ÖVP average figure is now back to its poll rating at the beginning of the year. Although slipping back in the last week from the start of August, they have a significantly stronger party machine than their rival for second. Moreover, the FPÖ support seems to be less motivated than in previous years and they may have difficulties getting their vote out on Election Day.

Prediction – The ÖVP had a good start to 2013 gaining momentum from the State elections. However, their ‘Year of the ÖVP’ (the hope of finishing first) has died with a weak election campaign. Earlier in the summer they were benefiting from the erosion of support for both Team Stronach and FPÖ. However, the latter has stabilised its position and is itself now benefiting from the continued decline of Team Stronach. The ÖVP’s one remaining positive is that their organisation appears to be highly motivated and likely to ‘get their core vote out’. – 21% to 23% (down from 2008 result of 26%).

 

Is there a fight for third?

The Greens advanced over the summer and the FPÖ poll ratings where falling. For a while the idea of the Greens moving into third place became a serious point of debate. With two weeks to go the Greens advance has stalled while the FPÖ has rallied its support. Despite a good campaign and their leader, Eva Glawischnig, performing well in the main TV confrontations, the party’s average rating is once again at 14.2%.

The FPÖ have been fighting a defensive campaign seeking to stop the slide in their support, which has had success in moving their poll average back to 20.2% from the 18.6% at the start of August – still short of the 20.8% at the beginning of the year and a long way from their 26.6% back in January 2012.

Predictions:

–          The FPÖ to retain third place unless another scandal hits the Party in the final week. Historically, the polls understate their support, but in 2013 State elections the polls have been reasonably accurate. – 17% to 20% (stagnation or small advance from 2008 result of 17.5%).

 –          The Greens have had very good campaign but it’s slipping away from them. The ‘killjoy, telling people how to live their lives’ attacks from opponents have hit home with potential voters for the Green camp. While the more centrist Green message has been to the fore the more Left Green image in Vienna has not helped attract floating voters – 14% to 16% (up from 2008 result of 10.4%).

 

Possibly one of the worst campaigns in history

There is no really competition for this title. The clear undisputed winner is already the campaign of Team Stronach. Unfortunately, their Austro-Canadian founder, leader, and top list candidate Frank Stronach has performed poorly in the main TV confrontations, there have been divisions in the Party, and the campaign has (in my opinion) been appallingly weak given the millions the billionaire businessman has pumped into his Party. Since the beginning of August the Party has fallen from an average of 9.2% to 7.8%. When the Party was founded in their poll rating was 11% (and briefly had reach 16%).

Prediction – FRANK 6% to 8%

 

Fighting losers

Predicted by many (including me) to be sure bets not to return in the next parliament, the BZÖ have had a surprisingly good campaign. Party leader, Josef Bucher, first surprise of the campaign was to exclude a number of the Party’s better known right-wing members from the national list. His second surprise was good performances in the TV confrontations. However, the while pressing a more moderate new image, the Party has still been paddling at times in the same pool as the far-Right FPÖ and populist Team Stronach.

Prediction – 1% to 3%  (down from 2008 result of 10.7%).

 

Sources:

Gallup/oe 20-09 13
Karmasin/Heute 20-09-13
Hajek/ATV 19-09-13
Market/Der Standard 15-09-13
Spectra/Kleine Zeitung 14-09-13
 

 

Quick guide to the Parties:

SPÖ: Social Democrats – Broad left-centre party. National party structure with Vienna State as their traditional key stronghold.

ÖVP: conservative in the Christian Democrat mould. National party structure with strong rural base but increasingly weak in the Cities. Lower Austria State key stronghold.

FPÖ: Far-Right – Traditional beneficiary of the anti-establishment and populist vote. National structure but weak in most States. Former stronghold of Kärnten lost in State election and now only real stronghold in Vienna State.

Greens: Left-centre party. Traditionally weak national structure bolstered by recent election successes – now part of government in five States.  Vienna State remains most significant stronghold. Party in Vienna more Left in comparison to centrist leanings in other States.

Team Stronach: Populist-Right. New party still building its structures but well funded by its founder/leader, billionaire Austro-Canadian, Frank Stronach. Seems to be a very centralised party dependent upon leader who has to spend significant time in Canada to maintain residency status.

BZÖ:  ‘Moderate’ Far-Right or Right-Wing Conservatives or Right-Wing Liberals. Originally, a breakaway from the FPÖ lead by Haider, the party has failed to find an identity or purpose since his death. No strongholds.

Neos: new Centrist Liberal party. They have a joint electoral platform with the Liberal Forum (LIF). Building party structure across the country, growing membership/supporters network, innovative in campaigning and public engagement.

Austrian Pirate Party: Left-centre party. Always keen to point out that they are more than an Internet party. More committed to ‘Liquid Democracy’ approach than their better known sister party in Germany.

 

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If only 52% of voters have made a choice are the polls worth looking at? Well actually yes.


The two most recent polls suggest good news for the Greens, as well as the Grand Coalition government – SPÖ (Social Democrats) and ÖVP (conservatives):

SPÖ 27%,  ÖVP 25%,  FPÖ 18%,  Greens 15%,  Team Stronach: 9%,  BZÖ 2%, Others  4% (30th May 2013: Gallup/oe)

SPÖ 27%,  ÖVP 25%,  FPÖ 18%,  Greens 16%,  Team Stronach: 10%,  BZÖ 1%,  Others 3% (31st May 2013: Karmazin/Heute)

For the Grünen it’s been a good few weeks since their dramatic success in the Salzburg State elections.  With the exception of the IMAS poll they have polled 16%, 15%, 15%, and 16%. Breaking through the 15 points barrier is a big psychological boost. Expect the Party leadership to spend June talking about getting 15% in the General Election in September. If poll rating were to continue to hold we’ll then see them talking about 15% to 20% and becoming the third largest party.

The SPÖ will be happy to see their ratings back to 27% and hope this will halt the talk in the press about the downward slide in their vote after Salzburg.

For the ÖVP it’s now five polls in a row with them at 25% or higher and within striking distance of overtaking the SPÖ for first place.

As for the FPÖ (Far-Right), their poll rating is still slipping downwards. The recent publicity about their ‘negative migration’ stance may help them hold their hard core but is likely to drive some of their protest vote supporters into the hands of the more ‘respectable populist’ protest party Team Stronach.

Current national average ratings based upon last five polls:

SPÖ: 27%,  ÖVP: 25.6%,  FPÖ 18.4%,  Greens 14.8%,  Team Stronach:  9.0%,  BZÖ 2.0%,  Others 3.2%

 

Good news then?

But wait. Take a look at the Gallup/oe poll here and scroll about half way down the article. According to Gallup’s survey only 52% know who they would choose come the General Election in September.

So, if 48% of potential voters don’t know who they would vote for, are the polls worth paying attention too? Well it’s yet another reason why the public, journalists, and politicians shouldn’t get too excited about the individual polls we are seeing. But yes, for those who want to know what is happening today and how that might play-out in the forthcoming General Election, then the polling trends (rather than individual polls) are worth observing and understanding.

Those trends do have an impact and are only likely to be disrupted by the occasional unexpected turn of events (even these only rarely have a lasting impact). Here are three reasons why:

  1. Floating voters are more likely to be influenced by the ‘mood music’ of politics and the expectations as to likely winners (and possible coalitions).
  2. Journalist and sub-editors choose headlines and stories based upon the drama/expectations generated by the polls.
  3. Politicians like to ignore or hype polls to their advantage but these public polls (and their own private polling) combined with the headlines (see point 2) often drive their agenda/strategies.

I’m not arguing that polling trends are the only factor, campaigning by the parties and social changes are amongst some of the other key influences. But in an election year polling trends have an influence over the electoral story which parties either seek to fuel or need to counter.

What are the polls really telling us?

Most importantly that below the surface there is a lot of movement in support, that the levels of committed support for any given party are an increasingly small proportion of those indicating a preference in the polls.

The trend amongst strategists of parties in recent times has been to maximise voter turnout amongst the committed which often means fighting increasingly negative campaigns, which in turn lead to a lower overall numbers voting. Recent State elections, which had historically low turnouts, would suggest to me that this strategy may now no longer  be an effective formula – these low turnouts saw core voters staying at home/switching and previous non-voters turning up at the polling stations.

Despite the main parties wanting to make the election a straight fight A vs B with the others as minor sideshows, the reality looks as though it’s going to be very different. Each party is going to be seeking to secure support from those increasingly loosely aligned to one or two other parties while persuading their own support not to switching to a third or fourth alternative (or staying at home). With a volatile electorate and more parties (realistically) to choose from, individual poll headlines will be of even less value in predicting the outcome.

So we need to look to the trends and movements in support to provide the better guide to changes in attitudes amongst voters in the key two or three or four sub-battles each Party will have to fight and therefore the outcome in September. For example the ÖVP may talk about its challenge to the SPÖ but presently it is gaining from the fight between the FPÖ and Team Stronach – the ÖVP talking about traditional SPÖ issues is not about its main fight with its coalition partners but positioning to scope up voters from the populist camps.

Current poll trends amongst current parties in parliament

SPÖ

There is little evidence to suggest that they can do better than the 2008 General Election result of 29.30%. They are -2.30% compared to 2008; -1.6% down on Jan ’12 their poll average. Unless they have a good summer I would expect them to be below 27% on election night.

ÖVP

Although -0.4% points compared to 2008, they have been the big movers since January having added 2.8%. Their poll figures are reasonably steady but unlikely to rise much more unless FPÖ vote collapses (they have benefited in recent months from the FPÖ vs Team Stronach battle). Will probably only take first spot in the polls if SPÖ vote falls below 24% mark.

FPÖ

In major decline and it could get worse. Although +0.9% points compared to 2008, they have dropped 8.2% points in the polls since Jan ’12. Defeats in the State elections, internal problems, corruption and other scandals, combined with the emergence of Team Stronach as an alternative protest party, have taken their toll. Down -2.4% since January ’13, don’t be surprised if they fall further and are overtaken by the Greens.

Greens

The Grünen are riding a wave of positive press and poll ratings. Up 4.4% points compared to 2008 and now about to be in government in five of Austria’s nine States, things are looking good for the Party. It’s a little hyped but the trend is positive. The change from January (pre four State elections) and now is just +0.8%. What looks different is that they have started to break through the 15% mark in some polls. If the Greens can maintain unity they may well become Austria’s third party.

Team Stronach

Only formed at the end of September 2012 by the Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach, Team Stronach’s (TS) 9% at first glance seems impressive. However, despite the millions spent and disproportionate press coverage, the Party has seen its average poll rating drop from 11% to 9%. In the State elections TS did demonstrate the ability to motivate previous non-voters and disproportionately attract voters abandoning the FPÖ. If as I suspect the FPÖ continues to decline TS may well start to be the main beneficiary, it may also pull a few percentage points from the ÖVP and/or SPÖ if either falters.

BZÖ

Regularly polling between 1% and 2%, the BZÖ are all but certain to fail to reach the 4% threshold for seats in parliament.

 

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Could the Conservatives ‘win’ the General Election in September?


Less than eighteen months ago the obituaries were being written for the ÖVP but it’s the conservatives who are winning the early rounds in Austria’s ‘super election year’*. Come the General Election in September the Party could be in first place if the current trend was to hold – assuming they don’t break from the governing coalition, force an early election and make a dash for first place while the going is good.

Current average based upon last five polls:

SPÖ: 26.6%, ÖVP: 24.8%, FPÖ 21.2%, Greens 12.8%, Team Stronach: 8.4%, BZÖ 2%, Others 4.2%

Percentage variation across last five polls:

SPÖ: 24%-28%, ÖVP: 23%-26%, FPÖ 21%-22%, Greens 11%-14%, Team Stronach: 7%-10%, BZÖ 1%-4%

Change since 1st January:

SPÖ: -0.4%, ÖVP: +2%, FPÖ +0.4%, Greens -1.2%, Team Stronach -2.2%, BZÖ +0.4%, Others +1%

 

On an upward trajectory

OVP

The ÖVP were seen as clear winners of January’s Conscription referendum, which has galvanised their electoral machine and left the SPÖ internally finger pointing about their preparedness and poor tactics.

The news from Lower Austria, where the Party has an absolute majority in the State parliament, is looking positive with the most recent poll giving the Party 49% support (down from 54.4% at the last election). While an absolute majority may slip away by polling day on the 3rd March, it doesn’t look as though the new competitor, Team Stronach, is having the impact some commentators expected (currently 8%) and you won’t want to put serious money on Governor Pröll and the ÖVP machine failing to maintain their majority.

In the current debate about how good or bad the EU budget negotiations were for Austria, the ÖVP’s attacks on its senior coalition partners performance seems to sit on the same side of the fence as many voters – 44% say EU budget negotiations bad for Austria. Noticeably 49% of SPÖ believe the country is paying too much and 55% of ÖVP take the same view. However, Austrian votes remain strongly in favour of the EU and the move by the traditionally very pro-EU ÖVP to a mildly sceptical (though still pro) position, at a time when the SPÖ has shifted to a stronger pro-EU line, may have longer term disadvantages.

 

BUT…

On the same day as the largest of Austria’s States delivers it verdict on the ÖVP’s absolute majority, the party is likely to record a poor result in the southern State of Kärnten. Here if the polls are correct, the ÖVP may slip from third to fifth place.

The Party’s hopes of improved results in the State elections in Salzburg and Tyrol are by no means guaranteed and they are likely to gain little from the results of the Vienna referendum questions.

The SPÖ remain in first place despite the setbacks of the last few weeks. They have a real possibility of securing first place in the Kärnten State election – breaking the control of the state by the FPÖ’s sister party the FPK. The SPÖ has been polling most strongly in recent months when they have pushed clear positive agenda for instance the pro-EU stance, taking on the FPÖ head on, and their immediate poll ratings didn’t actually yo-yo after the conscription debate. In short, if the SPÖ can stay united and retain a centre-left position (despite the desire of some to shift further left) they are the party mostly likely to secure first place at the General Election.

Additionally, while Team Stronach is primarily in a battle for voters with the FPÖ, any significant improvement in its support is likely to cost the ÖVP a few percentage points. Moreover, as this article in Profil highlights, the ÖVP will also face the threat of losing support to Austria’s new liberal Centrist party NEOS. (The new party, along with the Pirates, could also pose a threat to the Green Party’s chances).

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Winning the election?

My guess is that the ÖVP won’t come out first at the General Election in September. They are, however, most likely to be one of the winners in forming the next coalition government:

Realistic coalition options based on current average polls:

ÖVP/Greens/SPÖ – 64.2%

TeamStronach/ÖVP/SPÖ – 59.8%

FPÖ/ TeamStronach/ÖVP – 54.4%

ÖVP/SPÖ – 51.4%

 

(*Super election year – National conscription referendum; State elections in Lower Austria, Kärnten, Salzburg, and Tyrol; Vienna referendum; Federal General Election).

Sources:

IMAS/Krone 13-02-13
Karmasin/Heute 08-02-13
Gallup/oe24 03-02-13
Karmasin/profil 26-01-13
Gallup/oe24 26-01-13

 

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Referendum win gives conservatives momentum in the polls


Two polls this weekend show the (conservative) ÖVP narrowing the gap on its Grand Coalition governing partner the SPÖ (Social Democrats):

Karmasin

Gallup

SPÖ

27%

27%

ÖVP

26%

25%

FPÖ

21%

21%

Greens

13%

13%

Team Stronach

7%

9%

BZÖ

2%

1%

 

Overall the effect of the Conscription referendum battle, which pitched the two governing parties against each other (and to all intensive purposes sidelined the opposition parties), has been to strengthen the poll ratings of the Coalition which has now crept back above the 50% support mark to 51%.

Other (realistic) coalition oppositions based upon current average poll figures are:

ÖVP/Greens/SPÖ – 64.6%

TS/ ÖVP/ SPÖ – 59.8%

FPÖ/ TS/ ÖVP – 53.4%

The average of the five most recent polls confirms the upward trend of the ÖVP and the downward movement of one of Austria’s newest political parties, Team Stronach:

Polls Av Now

1st Jan ’13

Change

SPO

27.00%

27.00%

0.00%

OVP

24.00%

22.80%

1.20%

FPO

20.60%

20.80%

-0.20%

Greens

13.60%

14.00%

-0.40%

BZO

2.40%

1.60%

0.80%

Team Stronach

8.80%

10.6%

-1.80%

Others

3.60%

3.20%

0.40%

 

Since the launch of Austro-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach’s party on the 27th September 2012, Team Stronach has lost 2.2% support. This is against the backdrop of pre-launch higher ratings, massive media exposure, and significant spending on advertising.

The Far-Right FPÖ will be relieved to see their vote stabilising after a period of decline. However, they are 6% down in the polls compared to the beginning of 2012 and are seeing voters switch from Team Stronach to the ÖVP rather back to them.

Based upon the last five polls in which they were specially identified, the Austrian Pirate Party are averaging 1.2%.

 

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Final Austrian poll averages for 2012


Unless there is a flurry of polls tomorrow….here are the final poll numbers for 2012 based upon an average of the last five surveys:

SPÖ 27%; ÖVP 22.8%; FPÖ 20.8%; Greens 14%; Team Stronach 10.6%; BZO 1.6%; Others 3.2%

(Support for the Pirates is only recorded in some polls, based on these they are averaging 1.2%)

 

 

Sources: Gallup/oe24 30-12-12
Market/Standard 16-12-12
Gallup/oe24 16-12-12
Hajek/ATV 15-12-12
Karmasin/Profil 15-12-12

 

 

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