Day After: Change and Continuity

A few final images before closing this morning.  Haulik in SME does a nice job of summarizing the shifts and expectations:
One thing that he does not do, however, is to look at certain measures of underlying stability.  Along with many others, I have noted elsewhere that even though Slovakia exhibits considerable variability in electoral results (it has one of the highest average levels of volatility in the region)
there is actually a significant degree of continuity within electoral blocs.  Volatility for this election stands according to current figures at 32%, which is the second highest in Slovakia’s electoral history (thanks largely to the exclusion of KSS and ANO, the expansion of Smer and the swap between SNS and HZDS) but 6 percentage points lower than 2002. 

Volatility among parties of the current coalition was remarkably low, with KDH losing 1, SDKU picking up 3 and SMK unchanged.  The stability of vote share received by SDKU/KDH/ANO/SF is even more remarkable:  in 2002 the total for these parties (SF did not yet exist) was 31.4%; in 2006 it was 31.6%. SMK, too, received a share of votes virtually identical to that which it received in 2006.  The collapse of ANO (and the inability of SF to exceed the 5% threshold) is the main explanation, therefore, for the overall shfit in political fortunes away from the right. 

The major shifts came within other blocs.  The number of seats held by nationalist parties dropped by only one, from 36 to 35, but there was significant shift in the internal distribution from all 36 in the hands of HZDS in 2002 to 15 in that party’s hands in 2002 and an additional 20 in the hands of SNS.  This stability in seats was only possible, however, because of reconsolidation among nationalist parties that prevented a recurrance of 2002’s loss of nationalist votes to parties below the threshold.  (In 2002 Nationalists lost more than 10% of the total vote to parties that did not pass the 5% threshold).  The actual total of votes to explicitly nationalist parties dropped from 29.8% to 21.2% in 2006.

The left experienced a corresponding increase (though perhaps not a shift in the actual voters).  Its vote share rose from 22.9% in 2002 to 33.2% in 2006  and experienced a reallocation as well from a  2:1 split between Smer and KSS to the sole possession of Smer.  Because KSS failed to pass the 5% threshold, the left lost just under 3.9% of its vote total, but this did not differ dramatically from the 3.2% it lost in 2002 to SDA and SDL.

Finally, it is worth noting that although the final results differed substantially from opinion polls in a variety of ways (SDKU much higher, SNS, MKP and Smer slightly higher, HZDS and KSS lower), the overall bloc votes actually showed considerable consistency with recent polls.   For the left overall the result was exactly what polls predicted (but not in actual distribution among parties).  For the right the result was better than expected but only by about 2% while for the national parties, the result was about 2% worse.

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