Tag Archives: Green Party

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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Will the Greens leave behind their voters for Neos to scoop up?


Events in Germany have generated a few stories in the Austrian press in the last couple of days focusing on the position of the Greens in Austrian politics. The stimulus for these articles has been the election by the German Greens of two leaders, for next year’s federal elections, with a broad middle class appeal. The German Greens it seems are going after the CDU’s conservative voters rather than just seeking to secure left leaning support. (Reuters article)

This turn of events has lead to articles about the Austrian Greens and in particular this one caught my eye: Green: Vienna moves to the left, to the right Berlin. It an interesting idea, the Greens moving further to the left in Austrian politics and it might work for them, if that’s what they really intend.

The Austrian Greens, despite being the only party elected into the current Parliament that hasn’t faced one or more major scandals, have only increased their support to date by 4% and remain fourth in the polls. Last year they seemed to benefit from the decline in support for the conservative ÖVP but more recently their stronger poll ratings have coincided with a weakening of the SPÖ (Social Democrats). The latter are already in a longstanding battle with the far-Right FPÖ in their traditional working class areas and now face a further challenge from the new right-of-centre ‘Team Stronach’. With support dented by poorly handled scandal accusations and facing towards the challenge of Populists on the right, the SPÖ look vulnerable on their left flank. The temptation to push left and make real inroads may look highly tempting to the Greens in general and the more fundamentalist faction in particular.

But if the Greens did shift further to the left could they maintain their existing voter base while adding disillusioned traditional left-wing voters?

It is notable that the rise of the Green Party in general elections was mirrored by the decline of the LIF (Austrian Liberal Party). Many of these LIF voters switch to the Greens. I have already highlighted that the rise and fall in the opinion polls of the conservative ÖVP and the Greens last year often mirrored each other – liberal ÖVP voters switching. In short, the Greens are currently home to a mix of traditional Greens, left-Greens and social Liberal voters. A leftwards strategy that simply replaced these liberal & progressive voters with disillusioned leftists would be unlikely to reap dividends and I suspect would lead to a net loss of support.

Up until recently the Greens have had only the worry of losing liberal voters to the ‘not voting camp’. However, a new player has taken to the Austrian political field in the form of ‘Neos – the new Austria’. A party formed to provide a rallying point for homeless Liberals and other progressives, its founding members include former activists from the Greens, Liberals, and ÖVP. If it can overcome the challenges of not receiving the benefits of media access and state funding enjoyed by Parties already in the Parliament then Neos is likely to draw support away from the Greens – even more so if the latter really jumped further to the corporate left.

In an ideal world and looking at the alternatives on offer, seeing both the Greens and Neos well represented in the next Austrian parliament would creative a new dynamic to a system that many across the political spectrum think needs renewing.

Link:  http://neos.eu/

 

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