The May polls are now all out (now that the firm MVK has released its results) and we can look to see what changed in May. The big news is that there is no real news. The overall pattern remains largely the same with only minor changes from March (the last time I did the full analysis). For those with an eye to detail, however, there are some noteworthy developments:
1. Traffic Jam at 10%
As before, the overall poll results–based here on an averaging of polls conducted within each month period by UVVM, MVK, FOCUS and, when available, Dicio, Meridian, Polis and IVO–show Smer almost exactly where it was in March, with more than three times as much support as its nearest rival.
Those rivals (HZDS, SMK, KDH, SDKU and SNS) have converged even further
into what is essentially a five-way tie for second place at 10% each.
Two other parties (SF and KSS) hover between 10% and the 5% threshold,
closer to the latter than the former. The graphs below show this part of the chart in closer detail, the first in a precise but rather chaotic line graph, the second with smoother, parabolic trendlines which are easier on the eyes but not necessarily as accurate, because trendlines reflect particular kinds of guesses about how to interpret differences over time. In a future post I will look more closely at various ways to interpret recent trends in party support.
2. Intra-Bloc stability
Since much of the change came as trade-offs among similar parties, the voting within what I have called "blocs"–more in reference to the type and orientation of party rather than the coalition potential–shows no change whatsoever.
For this reason, little change is apparent in the a raw translation of votes into parliamentary seats. In fact the seat totals for Smer, KSS, SMK and SDKU are exactly the same as two months ago while there has been a one seat transfer from SF to KDH and a two seat transfer from HZDS to SNS.
Two notes of caution are necessary here, however:
- The 5% threshold:
While the change from March to May is quite minor, the results for April represented a rather significant shift (+6 for Smer, +1 for the "Right" bloc and +1 for the "National" bloc) even though actual preferences for particular blocs only changed by a slight amount. The reason, of course, is that for the first time in over a year, the average score for KSS fell below the 5% threshold and its seats went to Smer and the six other parties above the threshold (the national bloc actually gained despite a slight drop in overall preferences, for example). Given the tenuous hold that KSS and (perhaps SF) have on the 5% line, this is a reminder that even the most careful calculations about coalition possibilities are subject to significant change if one of these parties drops even one vote below 5%. In future posts I will try to assess chances for KSS and SF based on evidence at hand.
- Preferences v. Votes
As previous posts show, preferences in 2002 and 2004 were quite stable but corresponded relatively poorly to outcomes. The fact that preferences between March and May were stable means that the various estimation models made in March would not change much, but these are good guides only to the extent that the model is relatively accurate. As the only source of data for those models is previous elections, they are still rather limited. There are other, more current information that can shed light on the translation of preferences into votes including the "firmness of decision" among party voters and the "likelihood of turnout" among party voters. Data for the former has become publicly available, but as some have noted, its relevance is highly questionable. The "likelihood of turnout" is a far better indicator (especially in concert with the "firmness of decision" data) but it is far more difficult to obtain. I am trying, however, and with luck I will shortly be able to create a preference-into-vote model that is stronger for resting on two or three legs.
This reflects only a bare summary. I hope in the next few days to deal with the questions of differences among particular polls, of trends related to the preferences of various parties, and of a better preference-into-vote model.