Dashboard News, February 2010: MVK shows Coalition Down
A new report from the polling firm MVK (the only company I know without a web address or logo) puts the current coalition down almost 5 points and the current opposition up by 6. Here’s the poll: http://spravy.pravda.sk/mvk-zostava-smer-hzds-a-sns-by-po-volbach-nezlozila-novu-vladu-pbp-/sk_domace.asp?c=A100309_094511_sk_domace_p12 . But does it fit what we know from other polls? More or less.
As the dashboard shows, MVK’s numbers are within a plausible range nearly all parties.
- Smer: MVK shows a nearly 5% drop between mid-January and late February which seems rather large. The other two polls we have (FOCUS and Polis) show the party with a slight recovery rather than a major drop during the same month, though MVK’s results did come late, however, and it’s possible that something happened (not clear what that would be from the news) to reduce Smer support in a way that isn’t recorded yet in the other polls.
- SNS: MVK shows a smaller loss for SNS but in some ways a more significant one because as far as I can tell from my records it is the first major poll since August 2004 to show SNS below the threshold. Whether SNS is really that low is an open question (and one openly disputed by SNS which regards this poll as yet another election tactic by its opponents) but it is clear that every major poll has shown SNS down in recent months and the MVK poll certainly fits the trendline. Of course the party have low numbers because voters do not want to admit voting for it (this seems to have happened for HZDS during the 1990′s) but it could also have something to do with the party’s frequent scandals. Political commentators in Slovakia have argued that the party is immune to scandal because of its national message but that has struck me as rather condescending to nationalist voters. The fate of SNS will be–both for coalition development and for the overall tone of Slovakia’s politics–one of the most important questions in the coming election.
- HZDS: MVK shows the party up a bit which is actually likely if SNS is really down. If one of these parties drops, the other is likely to be a minor beneficiary. It is fascinating, however, that the combined vote total for these parties is now down to around 10%-11%. Just two years ago the combined total averaged around 19%-20% in MVK polls.
Most of these numbers, too, seem plausible though there is a bounce here that seems slightly unlikely:
- SDKU: The poll shows this party up more than three points from last month which seems unlikely during a period of scandal, but last month was an exceptionally low month for SDKU in MVK and this merely returns the party to its levels for late 2009. Since the low poll came before the scandal and this more recent poll has come after (but before Radicova’s election), this would seem to offer some confirmatory evidence that the scandal did not hurt SDKU too badly, which makes some sense and gives some credit to Dzurinda for leaving the electoral list and more or less taking the scandal away with him.
- KDH: The party’s 12.7 is the highest total (by a two point margin) that the party has received my 8 years of records of MVK polls. If SDKU were down this would make more sense to me, but it is hard to see this as anything other than a blip, even for a party that is doing better than it had in the past.
- SaS: Is the same as last month suggesting that 1) the party has some staying power and 2) that the growth may be over. If this is SaS’s peak (and I have no way of knowing or thinking that it is) we now need to watch to see if the pre-electoral slide of new parties which hit ZRS, ANO, SOP and HZD will hit SaS and whethe it is enough. It is good for SaS that they are starting the slide from a relatively high point–at 9.2 they can lose nearly half and stay above the threshold–but not so good that there are 3 months in which to do it.
- MKP-SMK and Most-Hid. Both are down slightly from last month’s MVK and Most-Hid is near the threshold of viability by these standards. I have no way of evaluating what the right level is; other polls have tended to put Most-Hid above SMK in recent months so MVK is different but not to be discounted for that reason. The real question is whether one of these two parties begins to fall short of 5% whether voters will flock to the other. The worst case scenario for Hungarians (short of both parties falling short of 5% which I still think is unlikely) is for one of these two parties to get nearly but not quite 5%. Right now the numbers make that a strong possibility. This means we have a 50%-50% chance of the best and worst-case scenarios (both in v. one weak party in) as opposed to a much stronger chance of a middle-of-the-road scenario (one marginally stronger party in, one weak party out).
Finally, a plea: Would MVK please include full results in its press releases as FOCUS and Median do. Perhaps it would help if journalists demanded them.