Kurz in clear lead with three months to go

Ahead of Austria’s Nationalrat election on 15 October, the pace of both campaigning and polling is stepping up, with seven surveys already published in July. OVP leader and Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz continues to lead by large margins in the three polls published yesterday and today, with the SPO (Social Democrats) and FPO (Freedom Party) very close together in the battle for second position.

 

 

The centre-right OVP (Austrian People’s Party) has a remarkable 10-point lead with IMAS for the Kronen Zeitung, after having trailed in third place across all polls for most of 2016 and early 2017. It is three months since IMAS last surveyed voters, using the increasingly rare face-to-face approach: hence the comparative figures with the April IMAS poll are striking, with the OVP having gained nine percentage points. All the other forces show losses on this time comparison.

Meanwhile Research Affairs has used a different approach in its poll published today by Oesterreich – respondents are presented with the names of party leaders rather than parties themselves, but the results are reasonably similar.

The other main difference between these two surveys is the inclusion of dissident Green politician Peter Pilz: with Research Affairs, his embryonic list moves just ahead of the Greens compared to the previous RA survey a fortnight ago, a situation that will further trouble the party Pilz has so recently fallen out with. IMAS on the other hand did not include Pilz in its survey: interestingly the Green total of 11 per cent in this poll exactly matches the combined score of Pilz and the Green Party with Research Affairs.

In Christine Matzka’s poll for the magazine News, her first of 2017, the Pilz possibility is also not included; notwithstanding this, the Greens are down to just 6 per cent. Kurz’s OVP leads the FPO by five points here, his lowest advantage in the three surveys.

On this evidence it seems that currently little stands in the way of Kurz achieving major parliamentary gains for the OVP in October. Back at the September 2013 election, the party scored 24 per cent, leading to the formation of a grand coalition with SPO. A score in the early thirties would completely alter the balance of power in Vienna. Kurz has further opportunities to make gains from the FPO as a spat with Italy over border controls continues, offering a high profile both for him personally and for the OVP’s increasingly conservative agenda.

 

RESEARCH AFFAIRS
Voting intentions, Nationalrat, per cent
(change on 7 July poll in brackets):

OVP (People’s Party) 32 (-2)
FPO (Freedom Party) 26 (+1)
SPO (Social Democrats) 25 (+2)
Neos (New Austria) 6 (+2)
‘Liste Pilz’ 6 (+1)
Gruene (Greens) 5 (-1)
Others 0 (-3)

Fieldwork: 17.07-18.07.2017. Release date. 19.07.2017. Participants: 600. Methodology: Online poll. Question included names of lead candidates. Media partner: Oesterreich.

 

IMAS
Voting intentions, Nationalrat, per cent
(change on 21 April poll in brackets):

OVP (People’s Party) 35 (+9)
SPO (Social Democrats) 25 (-1)
FPO (Freedom Party) 24 (-3)
Gruene (Greens) 11 (-3)
Neos (New Austria) 3 (-2)
Others 2 (nc)

Fieldwork: 13.06-04.07.2017. Release date. 19.07.2017. Participants: 1027. Methodology: Face-to-face interviews. Media partner: Kronen Zeitung. Full results on the IMAS website here.

 

CHRISTINE MATZKA
Voting intentions, Nationalrat, per cent

OVP (People’s Party) 32
FPO (Freedom Party) 27
SPO (Social Democrats) 26
Gruene (Greens) 6
Neos (New Austria) 5
Others 4

Fieldwork: 05.07-12.07.2017. Release date. 20.07.2017. Participants: 800. Methodology: Mixed online and telephone interviews. Media partner: News. Further report here.

 

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