Tag Archives: Greens

Austrian voters’ line-up with Pro-EU Parties


Not always known for its pro-EU sympathies, the electorate of Austria are this time round more firmly backing parties with pro-EU views.

The headlines I read in the international press often talk about the advance of the FPÖ alongside other Far-Right parties in the upcoming EU parliamentary elections. If you look at the current polling averages and compare them to the last election it would appear, at first glance, that we have another story of Far-Right, anti-EU advance in an EU member state. FPÖ 2009 12.7% now average poll figure 19.6%.

But wait. Let’s add a few footnotes:

  1. Austria is a country where opinion polls regularly show around 33% of the electorate as EU sceptic.
  2. Last election the FPÖ faced serious competition for the sceptic vote from the Martin List and the BZÖ.
  3. This time round there is no Martin List, the BZÖ dropped out of the national parliament last September and their lead candidate quit early in their campaign. The other anti-EU parties competing have few resources and represent no serious competition.
  4. In national politics the governing Grand Coalition of the SPÖ/ÖVP have had a bad start to their latest term in office.

In short, the FPÖ as the largest opposition party in Austria should have everything going for them. But that’s not how it’s playing out in the polls:

Average figures based on last five EU polls

  Polls Av Now Euro 2009 Change
SPO 23.4% 23.74% -0.3%
OVP 24.6% 29.98% -5.4%
FPO 19.6% 12.71% 6.9%
Greens 12.8% 9.93% 2.9%
Martin 0.0% 17.67% -17.7%
NEOS 13.2% 0.00% 13.2%
BZO 1.8% 4.58% -2.8%
REKOS 1.2% 0.00% 1.2%
Ander 1.4% 0.00% 1.4%

 

The pro-EU parties SPÖ/ÖVP/Grünen/NEOS have a combined figure of 74%. While the Populist EU sceptics FPÖ/BZÖ/REKO combined total is 22.6%.

Currently parties with a broadly pro-EU position are up +10% against the anti-EU camp.

I wrote the other day about the advance of the progressives alternatives in the national parliamentary polls. In the EU polls the gap between the progressive alternatives and the populists is currently larger:

Polls Av
Greens NEOS 26.0%
SPO OVP 48.0%
FPO BZO/REKOS 22.6%

 

One particular point of interest is that the party with the strongest pro-EU message, Neos, is making the largest impact in the election.  This Liberal Centrist party broke into the national parliament at the first attempt last September with just under 5% of the vote. They have now overtaken the Greens in the polls with an average figure of 13.2%. It seems the Party’s ‘We love Europe’ slogan is doing them no harm.

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Progressives overtake Populist alternatives in the polls for first time


Last weekend’s polls will probably mark the moment when Austrian politics finally shifted away from the Grand Coalition vs Populist Opposition stalemate of recent years.

For the first time the progressive alternatives are out polling the populist parties.

    Polls Av Now GE 2013 Change
Progressives Greens/NEOS 27.0% 17.38% 9.62%
Grand Coalition SPO/OVP 43.6% 50.81% -7.21%
Populists FPO/TS/BZO 26.8% 29.77% -2.97%

 

 

The gap, in the average figures from the most recent 5 polls, may only be 0.2% but the overall change in support since the General Election is a major shift towards a progressive alternative opposition.

Over the coming weeks I suspect we will see the progressives and populists swapping second place but don’t be surprised to see the progressive alternatives establish a clear lead over the populists by the end of 2015. A new political paradigm is establishing itself in Austria and party strategists across the spectrum are going to have to catch-up quick.

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Average national election poll rating based on the five most recent polls up until 12th April 2014:

  Polls Av Now GE 2013 Change
SPO 24.0% 26.82% -2.8%
OVP 19.6% 23.99% -4.4%
FPO 24.4% 20.51% 3.9%
Greens 13.2% 12.42% 0.8%
Team Stronach 1.2% 5.73% -4.5%
NEOS 13.8% 4.96% 8.8%
Others 3.8% 5.57% -1.8%

 

Sources:
Gallup/oe24 12-04-14
OGM/Kurier 06-04-14
Gallup/oe24 30-03-14
Gallup/oe24 23-03-14
meinungsraum/NEWS 20-03-14

 

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NEOS are the big winners from direct voter contact


The neuwal.com folks have produced a very useful summary of an interesting political experiment undertaken at the Commercial College and Trade School Steyr.

The experiment first involved students casting their votes for the various political parties. Interestingly in this first round the Pirates do well alongside the SPÖ, ÖVP, Greens, and FPÖ. The students then had direct contact with representatives of all the nine parties through an information event at which the politicians answered questions.

Interestingly in the second round of voting that then followed it was NEOS who where the big winner with the biggest gain in support and finishing third overall. As you can see from the graphs on the neuwal.com page, the BZÖ along within Team Stronach and the ÖVP also improved their share of the vote. The biggest losers were the SPÖ, Greens, and Pirates.

It would be fascinating to see this experiment repeated elsewhere as this would help answer the question as to the degree policy or representatives influenced the voters.

One point of note from this story is that it lends weight to what I’ve heard NEOS people say a lot in recent months – ‘When we talked to people directly we get a very positive response’.

With the General Election scheduled for the 29th September 2013 the question remains ‘Will NEOS be able to get a direct hearing from the electorate?’ It’s going to be  a challenge for the new Centrist Liberal platform in a political system where the established parties have greater media coverage and large campaign chests from State and other funding.

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Daughters to take their place


Press reports yesterday evening brought the excellent news that an alliance of women MP from the ÖVP. SPÖ and Greens had secured enough support within the various parties to ensure that the ‘daughters’ will find a place in the national anthem:

http://derstandard.at/1310511100861/Aenderung-der-Bundeshymne-Beschlossen-Toechter-kommen-in-Hymne

http://www.austriantimes.at/news/General_News/2011-07-13/34898/Anthem%27s_new_lyrics_to_acknowledge_women%27s_achievements

The behaviour of some male ÖVP MP’s towards their own female MP’s on this issue has not projected a particularly good image over the last week for a party trying to reposition itself as a modern relevant force. There is also an interesting interview in the der Standard, today, with Political Scientist Peter Filzmaier (Professor at the Department for Political Communication at Danube University Krems) in which, amongst other things, he highlights the conservative ÖVP’s voter gender imbalance and the problems the party has in attracting the support of 30 to 60 year old women in urban areas:

http://derstandard.at/1310511102104/OeVP-Auch-in-Unternehmen-kann-man-nicht-so-agieren

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