Tag Archives: Austrian Opinion Polls

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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The General Election – Is it the Coalitions to lose?


The General Election – Is it the Coalitions to lose?

  • Coalition wants voters to concentrate on the battle for first place
  • Far and populist right looking for a message
  • What happened to the Green wave?
  • A 1% return on poster campaign & press coverage
  • New & smaller parties looking for a breakthrough

IMG_8425

The Austrian parliament wrapped up its final session last Friday. The parties will now be focusing on their summer campaigns before the final push in September (polling takes place on the 29th September). So as we move into the next phase of election year here are the current national average ratings for the Parties based upon last five polls:

SPÖ: 27.2%,  ÖVP: 24.4%,  FPÖ 19.0%,  Greens 15.0%,  Team Stronach: 8.0%,  BZÖ 2.6%,  Others 3.8%

The percentage variation across these five polls:

SPÖ: 26%-28%, ÖVP: 24%-25%, FPÖ 19%, Greens 14%-16%, Team Stronach: 8%, BZÖ 2%-4%

As has been the case for the last few months, the polls are of a similar view on the current share of the vote for the FPÖ and Team Stronach. They continue to differ most often on the position of the Greens and BZÖ.

Trends:

Grand Coalition

SPÖ/ÖVP: They have the headline they probably most want at this stage, the equivalent of ‘It’s a two horse race’. Currently, their combined strength is generating press coverage suggesting another Grand Coalition is the most likely (only) outcome. As such they are able to concentrate their efforts and they hope the minds of the voters on the question of who will be Number One and therefore lead the next governing coalition.

I’m sure both sets of strategists will be hoping that they can keep the ‘battle for first place’ running as the main story of the election campaign. It would fit well with their shared underlying message – stick with what you know and focus on who will make the best senior partner.

It’s all a bit down beat, no great attempt to win a significantly larger share of the vote by taking risks. If the vote share of the two Coalition partners does increase it’s likely to be a result of getting their core voters out in an overall low turnout.

The one risk at the moment, which has been highlighted by amongst others the Mayor of Vienna, is that if the ‘battle for first place’ becomes so aggressive it works against both parties. I note that polling data suggests that a continuation of the coalition of two is not the most popular option amongst voters, the ‘Grand Old Parties’ will need to argue carefully.

SPÖ: It’s been a bumpy year so far for the party. With the exception of Kärnten, this year’s State elections and referendum were not good news stories. At one time their polling figures were close to falling below the 25%. However, they have remained first in the polls all year and their current average is back to the same level as it was in January. What will concern their strategists’ is that their poll variations are again becoming wider, will their ‘safe pair of hands’ approach carry them to success or will voters start to slip through their fingers?

ÖVP: In recent months their polling figures have been the most stable of all the parties but their previous 2% points gain since January has become 1.6%. Yes it’s a tiny variation but they, like the SPÖ, have been dominating the headlines, pushing hard with the idea of  it being the ‘Year of the ÖVP’, and that first place is a real possibility. Their strategists may start to wonder whether they are trying to build momentum or hold on till Election Day.

Looking for a message

Data suggests the parties of the far and populist right are finding it difficult to reach beyond the minority of voters who poll categorise as ‘feeling excluded, or pessimistic, or insular’. Worse these votes are amongst the most likely to stay at home come election time and the less negative inclined to switch allegiance.

FPÖ: It’s managed to stop is freefall and nudged its average poll ratings back up by 1%. It’s traditional core messages ‘immigration, crime, Europe’ have failed to help it make any headway and even attempts to move on to key voter issues have done little more than stabilise the situation. The one positive for the FPÖ is that they finally seem to have benefited from the decline in support for Team Stronach. Where once they talked of first place and 33% vote share, now they are talking about a place in government with 20% plus. The reality is that they will be happy if they can maintain third place in the coming election. The 2013 election has already been written off, their strategists are trying to maintain support in the high teens, hoping that Frank and his Team Stronach will disappear after the election and then the FPÖ will have a clear run for the next general election.

Team Stronach: The Party has lost 2.6% points in the polls since January. Bizarrely, the TS seems to have been asleep for the last month or so and is only now launching its summer campaign. Either party strategists didn’t want to ‘peak’ too soon or they have been rethinking their plans and re-organising after a disappointing Spring. The party’s policy launches have suffered from easy attack from opponents and journalists – TS policy cycle is Frank says…journalist question…Franks says detail being worked on by committee….policy detail launched… journalist question…Franks says further detail being worked on by committee. Frank himself doesn’t do well in open interviews. Interestingly, the new campaign response to all this seems to be an advertising campaign based upon images of Frank and single words…..’Social Frank’….’Authentic Frank’. Oddly, this might actually be Team Stronach best strategy in the circumstances.

BZÖ: Much of Team Stronach’s support seems to come from people who voted BZÖ at the last election but subsequently switched to the FPÖ before also abandoning them due to the ongoing scandals. The emergence of Team Stronach stripped almost their entire remaining vote away – they have regularly been at 1% in the polls. The party will be relieved to see that they, like the FPÖ, have finally benefited from the drop in TS support – up until now the ÖVP has tended to be the beneficiary of any drop in Team Stronach’s poll ratings. But it’s a very limited gain with the BZÖ’s average poll rating only going up 1% since January to 2.6%.

The Right: All three parties are desperately looking for not so much a winning message but just a message that works enough to keep them in the game. That game for the FPÖ and Team Stronach is to gain influence in next parliament and deliver a fatal blow to the other. For the BZÖ the game is survival and their latest move has been to try to reinvent themselves as a ‘modern ÖVP’. However, it’s only a few weeks ago that some members of the BZÖ were offering ‘political asylum’  to right-wingers in the FPÖ who had lost the latest of that party’s internal power struggles.

What happened to the Green wave?

Greens: After a successful round of State elections earlier in the year the political headlines were dominated by the idea of a ‘Green wave’ which would sweep the party into power as part of a three way coalition. The reality is that the average poll rating for the Greens has increased by only 1% since January (though their current 15% is 4.6% higher than at the last election).  What’s significant is that in some polls they have passed the 15% mark – previously seen by many commentators as the ceiling for Green support. The worry for Green strategists will be that in the last two months while some polls have had them as high as 16% others have had them polling around the 12%/13% mark.

A one percent return on poster campaign & press coverage?

Billboard posters are a significant aspect of an Austrian election campaign.  While they clearly have a value in reminding voters of a party and a key message, I have often wondered how much impact an average poster campaign has on increasing voter support.

In the last few weeks the BZÖ has undertaken a big poster campaign which has coincided with the launch of their election list and the resulting additional press coverage. The posters have been widespread and had a clear message. The result of these posters combined with added press coverage would appear to be a mere 1%. Maybe poster campaigns are more for motivating existing support rather than for changing campaign fortunes. If that was true Team Stronach (see above) and others may need to think a little more creatively. I suspect the PR experts will tell me I’m wrong but it’s a thought.

New & smaller parties looking for a breakthrough

Parties not represented in the outgoing parliament and who want to compete in the September General Election are currently collecting the 2600 signatures from across the country needed to enable them to stand.

Of the new and smaller parties likely to be fighting the election two appear to have a chance of breaking through the 4% needed to enter parliament – the Pirates and Neos. They or any other would be challengers will need to start making an impact soon if they are to achieve a breakthrough:

The Austrian Pirate Party: It’s not much but after months of registering 1% in the polls (in which their support is specifically recorded) a poll this week had them at 2%. I would not normally mention such a 1% to 2% change in one poll but it comes at a time when the Pirates have had a higher degree of press coverage and the Snowden affair has raised the profile of what would be seen by voters as issues relevant to the party. It suggests, no more than that, that if the headlines provide the right opening then the Pirates may be able to secure enough attention to reach the 4%.

Neos – Still my number one bet for a party to break into the next parliament. Steady press coverage (though usually limited to the ‘quality Press’), growth of interest in such activity as the Party’s Facebook site, and the positive response from those who become aware of this new party, all suggest the chance is there. However, Neos is yet to make waves in the polls – where their support is specifically recorded it registers only at the 2% level. The challenge in the next few weeks will be for the Party to raise public awareness to a level where it can convert interest into hard support.

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And what about the voters?

A few things I’ve noted about vote attitudes in recent polls:

1)      Austrian voters appear to be very positive about democracy in general but far less impressed with current party policies.

2)      More than half of voters say they already know who they will vote for and just over 20% appear to be undecided. But Party loyalty is far lower than ever before, so strategists would be careful about assuming that ‘decides’ are ‘firm’ support.

3)      A third of electorate may stay at home come the election based on recent survey findings. This is particularly true of current FPÖ, Team Stronach, and BZÖ supporters, which could further deflate their vote shares.

4)      Voters are far more likely to be optimistic than pessimistic about the future.

 

IMG_8418

 

 

Quick guide to the Parties listed above:

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, gradually developing finances to sustain electoral challenge.

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.

 

Sources: Market/DerStandard 07-07-13
OMG/Kurier 07-07-13
Gallup/oe 07-07-13
Gallup/oe 29-06-13
Oekonsult/Mein Bezirk 28-06-13
   

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Current mood music in Austrian politics


Today’s Gallup/Österreich poll has some interesting findings on who the electorate thinks is doing well at the current time. The survey puts the Greens on top with figures of Good 49%:15% Bad. Out of the six parties currently represented in parliament the three ‘Right’ parties are ranked 4th to 6th and all have negative net ratings: Team Stronach  Good 24%:34% Bad; FPÖ Good 20%:41% Bad; BZÖ Good 71%:4% Bad.

The negative mood music for the Far-Right/Populist parties fits with my predictions in yesterday’s political blog post.

The SPÖ will be pleasured that they are ahead of their Coalition partners in positive estimate Good 36%:36% Bad. However, the ÖVP will be noting that they are ahead of the SPÖ in the net ratings Good 34%:23% Bad.

General Election countdown: 98 days to go.

 

 

 

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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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Salzburg gives boost to Greens in national polls


The first two polls since the SPÖ (Social Democrats) took a hammering in the Salzburg State election show the party losing ground, though they retain first spot in the national polls. Worryingly for the Party, in general election year, this seems to be part of a downward trend. Over the last year or more, each time they have a noticeable drop in the polls they recover but their new average high is lower than before.

Things are a little better for the other half of Austria’s ruling grand Coalition, the ÖVP (conservatives), whose poll ratings remain steady. They topped the polls in three of the four State elections this year but lost more votes than any other party when compared to the previous the elections – new record lows in their wins in Tirol and Salzburg. The positive news for the Party is that polling data shows that those currently supporting the ÖVP are some of the most motivated of the electorate.

The two latest polls below show a small surge for the Greens (centre-left) who have recently been flat-lining in the national opinion polls at 13%. If these results are repeated in further polls then the Greens will make an important breakthrough, moving their average figure above 15%. However, their current average rating shows them only having recovered to the level they achieved at the beginning of January this year.

In both the national opinion polls and State elections it’s been a bad year so far for the (Far-Right) FPÖ. They will be relieved to see that their poll ratings have not dropped any further (down 7.6% points since January 2012).

The party of billionaire Austro-Canadian businessman Frank Stronach, Team Stronach (Populist-Right), have had a mixed time in the State elections and their current average poll rating is down 1.2% compared with January and down 1.6% in comparison to the 11% in the polls when the Party was founded last September. Given the millions spent by Frank already he can’t be happy with the current rate of return on his investment.

Latest polls:

SPÖ 25%,  ÖVP 24%,  FPÖ 19%,  Greens 16%,  Team Stronach: 10%,  BZÖ 2%,  Pirates 2%  (10th May 2013: Market/derstandard)

SPÖ 26%,  ÖVP 25%,  FPÖ 19%,  Greens 15%,  Team Stronach: 9%,  BZÖ 2%,   KPÖ 1%,  Pirates 1%  (9th May 2013; Gallup/Österreich)

 

Current national average ratings based upon last five polls:

SPÖ: 26.8%,  ÖVP: 24.6%,  FPÖ 19.0%,  Greens 14.2%,  Team Stronach: 9.4%,  BZÖ 1.8.0%,  Others 4.2%

Percentage variation across last five polls:

SPÖ: 25%-28%, ÖVP: 24%-25%, FPÖ 19%, Greens 13%-16%, Team Stronach: 8%-10%, BZÖ 1%-2%

Sources:

Market/Standard 10-05-13
Gallup/oe24 09-05-13
Karmasin/heute 03-05-13
Gallup/oe24 28-04-13
Karmasin/profil 20-04-13

 

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National polls show Coalition consolidating but will they survive the next two State elections?


Comparison of Aprils national polls with those at the beginning of the year show the conservative ÖVP narrowing the gap on its Grand Coalition government partner the SPÖ (Social Democrats),  whose own poll ratings have remained virtually unchanged.

The (Far-Right)  FPÖ rating has dropped 2 points in the same period and 7.8 percentage points since January 2012.

Becalmed would be the best term to describe the poll performances of the remaining three Parties in the current parliament.

The only other notable trend has been the small but steady increase in Others, moving back towards the 6.1% figure at the last general election and despite the emergence of Team Stronach. If NEOS are able to continue to attract media coverage and/or the Austrian Pirates revive their fortunes then we may well see additional Parties being regularly listed by all polling companies and with growing percentage ratings.

Current average based upon last five polls:

SPÖ: 27.2%,  ÖVP: 24.6%,  FPÖ 18.8%,  Greens 13.6%,  Team Stronach: 9.8%,  BZÖ 2.0%,  Others 4.0%

Percentage variation across last five polls:

SPÖ: 27%-28%, ÖVP: 24%-25%, FPÖ 18%-19%, Greens 13%-14%, Team Stronach: 9%-10%, BZÖ 1%-4%

Polls from Salzburg and Tirol, where State elections will shortly be taking place, indicate that the results for the ÖVP, SPÖ, and FPÖ will not be providing good news headlines to boost their campaigns as we head towards the national election in September. If the polls are accurate the story of these State elections will be the advance of the Greens.

 

Sources:

Karmasin/profil 20-04-13
Gallup/oe24 19-04-13
IMAS/krone 06-04-13
Gallup/oe24 06-04-13
Karmasin/heute 04-04-13

 

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Who’s benefiting from the fall of the Far-Right FPÖ? No it’s not Uncle Frank!


With new polls added to my running average figures, it’s clear that the fall of Far-Right FPÖ is continuing with their poll rating now down to 18.6%. They have dropped 2.2% points since January 2013 and when compared to their average rating in January 2012 they have fallen 8 percentage points.

Current average based upon last five polls:

SPÖ: 26.6%, ÖVP: 24.2%, FPÖ 18.6%, Greens 13.8%, Team Stronach: 10.8%, BZÖ 2.6%, Others 3.4%

Percentage variation across last five polls:

SPÖ: 26%-27%, ÖVP: 23%-25%, FPÖ 18%-19%, Greens 13%-14%, Team Stronach: 9%-15%, BZÖ 1%-4%

So it’s the Stronach effect?

State elections in Lower Austria and Kärnten, combined with polling data, show that as well as attracting previous non-voters Team Stronach (TS) gains more support from former FPÖ supporters than it does from any other party. This suggests that TS both threatens any FPÖ recovery (by now being the main beneficiary of the protest vote) and hastening their further decline (tempting more of the anti-establishment vote away from the FPÖ).

It’s this evidence that has got many of the papers talking about the damage TS is doing to the FPÖ. But look at the average figures since the Austro-Canadian billionaire businessman, Frank Stronach, founded Team Stronach at the end of September 2012:

Party

Sept ’12 Average

Jan’13 Average

Average Now

Diff Sept to Now

Team Stronach

11%

10.6%

10.8%

-0.2%

FPÖ

20%

20.8%

18.6%

-1.4%

So who is benefiting from FPÖ vs Stronach?

Currently the main beneficiary of the decline of the FPÖ and their battle for survival with TS has been the ÖVP (conservatives):

Party

Sept ’12 Average

Jan’13 Average

Average Now

Diff Sept to Now

Team Stronach

11%

10.6%

10.8%

-0.2%

FPÖ

20%

20.8%

18.6%

-1.4%

ÖVP

22.2%

22.8%

24.2%

2%

I suspect that by the time of the General Election it will be TS that have most benefited from a continued decline of the FPÖ but it hasn’t happened yet. As for the ÖVP the addition of more right learning votes may help their vote share hold up if more liberal ÖVP switch to NEOS or the Greens – either of which is a real possibility.

And what’s been happening to the others since the arrival of Uncle Frank?

Party

Sept ’12 Average

Jan’13 Average

Average Now

Diff Sept to Now

SPÖ

27%

27%

26.6%

-0.4%

Greens

13.6%

14%

13.8%

+0.2%

BZÖ

3%

1.6%

2.6%

-0.4%

Others

3.2%

3.2%

3.4%

+0.2%

Sources: IMAS/krone 06-04-13
Gallup/oe24 06-04-13
Karmasin/heute 04-04-13
Market/Standard 02-04-13
Hajek/ATV 31-03-13

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