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Political scientists do not overestimate election polls, they see three favorites to win

Updates: 08.04.2021 14:50
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Prague – According to political scientists contacted by ČTK, party support polls should not be overestimated six months before the autumn parliamentary elections. The YES movement, the coalition of Pirates and Mayors and Independents (STAN), but also the competing coalition Together (ODS, KDU-ČSL and TOP 09) have a chance to win the election, they say. YES has lost its first position in recent surveys by Median or Kantar, according to political scientist Ladislav Mrklas for Pirates and STAN, the leadership may have come too soon and sooner than they expected.

According to the latest Median poll, a coalition of Pirates and STAN would win the election with 27.5 percent of the vote, YES would win 24.5 percent, and a total of 17.5 percent. Mrklas thinks nothing has been decided yet. “Any of the three entities can win the election and the order can be arbitrary,” he told CTK. Political scientist Lubomír Kopeček has a similar opinion, he would not overestimate the current order. “The last year shows that the support of the parties can change significantly,” he said.

According to Kopeček, in addition to changing the preferences of voters, the results of whether they will reach the elections can also speak to the results. “This also applies to the coalition of Pirates and STAN, where it is obvious that many young voters who are most important in its support are not sure if they will really come to the elections,” he added. Mrklas said the first place for the Pirates and STAN might have come sooner than they had expected. “Which is positive in that there can be a snowball effect,” he said. On the other hand, journalists and the public can focus more on the group and draw more attention to potential problems.

Together, it lags slightly behind in the polls, but according to Kopeček, there is no indication that the coalition should fall apart. Mrklas said that there will certainly be voices against the coalition in individual parties. “There will be groups that will draw attention to themselves and prepare for what if it doesn’t work out so that they can stand in a position – we said so. But I don’t think it could tear the coalition apart,” he said.

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According to Mrklas, the Together coalition does not record that, unlike Pirates and STAN, it has not become a leader, and thus cannot draw such attention to itself. In the rival coalition, moreover, the figure of Pirate Chairman Ivan Bartoš acts as a unifying element, he added. “A candidate for prime minister is probably quite acceptable to voters,” he said. According to him, the edges of the disputes in the coalition of Pirates and STAN were dulled by the fact that the group got into the position of the biggest challenger YES.

The coronavirus crisis has further reduced the coalition potential of YES, says Kopeček. “Even before the pandemic, he was not tall due to criminal prosecution and other cases connected with Andrej Babiš, now he is very small,” he said. On the contrary, the rivalry in competing coalitions increased the willingness to negotiate, he said. “This is especially visible between the ODS and the Pirates. This is not to say that a possible post-election agreement between the two coalitions will be easy,” he said. Together with the pirate coalition, the effort to push Babiš into opposition is sealed together; for the prime minister, support for President Miloš Zeman and the mandate to form a government after the elections are more important than the first place in the polls.

YES, according to Mrklas, lost support mainly due to the pandemic. “There were a number of chaotic decisions. At times the Prime Minister did not seem to hold the rudder at all, at times he did, but those were the moments when the decisions were most chaotic,” he explained. According to him, Babiš’s image fell as a capable manager who can cope with a crisis situation. Before the elections, Babiš will try to speed up the pace of vaccination against covid-19, but also look for topics in a broader context. According to Mrklas, he will try to collect small segments of voters, various tenths of a percent, which will make up the required percentages.

According to Kopeček, it would be strange if the decline in confidence in the government was not reflected in a decline in support for government parties. He sees the lower confidence in the cabinet mainly in confused communication and government incompetence. “But it is good to perceive that the coronavirus situation is clearly starting to improve, which can be positive for the government’s confidence. It gives YES and perhaps the CSSD the opportunity to improve its image and thus the election result. than some surveys now suggest, “he said.

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