Austria’s centre-right People’s Party (OVP) continues to hold a decent lead over the Social Democrats (SPO) in the race for October’s parliamentary election, according to today’s quarterly Oesterreich Trend poll for ATV, carried out by Peter Hajek. The gap has narrowed since June, however, to five points, with the populist Freedom Party (FPO) unchanged in third position.
Lower down the field, the troubled Greens fall behind New Austria (NEOS) for the first time in this survey since June 2014. Green defector Peter Pilz’s list is eating into his former party’s support, but he seems to lack real momentum after the hype surrounding the launch of his independent campaign.
Leadership ratings – the so-called ‘Chancellor question’ – appear very stable, with the FPO’s Heinz Christian Strache remaining a deadweight on his party’s prospects. Only 13 per cent are prepared (hypothetically) to elect him as the country’s leader, compared to 24 per cent ready to vote FPO in the very real elections for the Nationalrat on 15 October. Interestingly both the ratings of Foreign Minister/OVP leader Sebastian Kurz and Federal Chancellor/SPO leader Christian Kern are now very much in line with their parties’ overall scores.
Pollster Hajek has dug out some other interesting data, including a view that just 10 per cent of Austrians consider the election campaign ‘very dirty’ (28 per cent ‘a little’) compared to 15 per cent who feel it is ‘not dirty at all’ (40 per cent ‘not really’). On individual issues, the OVP holds good leads as the party best placed to tackle the critical problems of security/terrorism and integrating refugees: including an advantage over the FPO which until recently made this policy ground its own. The SPO is stronger on traditional issues such as pensions, employment and wages, but the OVP is seen as more likely to improve Austria’s overall standing as an economic location.
Finally this Oesterreich Trend finds 70 per cent of respondents claiming they are certain to vote, with another 14 per cent very likely (points 8-9 on a 10-point scale). This suggests turnout could well be as high as the 74.9 per cent at the last election in September 2013.
Voting intentions, Nationalrat, per cent
(change on 9 June poll in brackets):
OVP (People’s Party) 32 (-2)
SPO (Social Democrats) 27 (+1)
FPO (Freedom Party) 24 (nc)
Neos (New Austria) 6 (+1)
Gruene (Greens) 5 (-4)
‘Liste Pilz’ 4 (n/a)
Others 2 (nc)
Voting intentions, per cent
(scenario of a directly-elected Chancellor)
Sebastian Kurz (OVP) 33
Christian Kern (SPO) 27
Heinz Christian Strache (FPO) 13
Peter Pilz 3
Matthias Strolz (NEOS) 2
Ulrike Lunacek (Gruene) 1
Fieldwork: 09.08-16.08.2017. Release date: 18.08.2017. Participants: 700. Methodology: Mixed telephone and online poll, weighted for 2013 parliamentary election vote recall; 509 respondents expressed a party preference. Media partner: ATV. Full report here.
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