But still in the stratosphere (and/or Ferndale).
A virtually computer-free vacation meant no July poll analysis. There is one (and really only one) sense in which this is unfortunate: July polls showed something I have never seen before in Slovakia, a one-party parliamentary majority.
In the UVVM July survey, Smer polled 48.5% which, after factoring out all the parties below the five-percent threshold (see the next post on small parties) gives the party just over 50% of all supporters of electable parties and, thanks to some slightly favorable electoral-system math, one vote more than half.%C2%A0 Whether or not the party sustains this level of support, the instance itself is notable because it is unprecedented: 48.5% of voters expressing a party preference, 76 seats, 4.2 times as many as the next largest party, 5 times as many as the next largest opposition party.
So far all we have for July or August are the UVVM polls so I will use the restricted comparison set here. The August UVVM polls put Smer back down to 44.9% which is still at the high end of its previous “normal” range, with “only” 3.5 times as many supporters as the next largest party (once again the opposition party SDKU).
The same “return to normal” is apparent for the smaller parties (and compared to Smer,
every party is a smaller party). July’s record high for Smer was accompanied by a post-election record low for SDKU (9.7%, in percentage terms an even bigger shift from the average than Smer’s high-water mark) but August returns the party to the (low side of the) 11%-15% range where it has been since the election. Since SNS has showed a steady climb back from its poor showings in May and June, this again leaves us with the 3-track pattern of party support–Smer around 40, SDKU and SNS around 13 and HZDS, MK and KDH around 9–that dominated the first half of 2008. Indeed, August 2008 is virtually identical to February 2008, with no party’s results differing by even a full percentage point from 7 months ago and overall volatility between those two months at a shockingly low 1.5%. Of course we are not back in February–a lot has happened since then–but the long-term stability is striking.
Though the shifts mean that this month is not as propitious for the current coalition as last month, it is still near its overall high point in the post-election period…
…a second graph shows that the gains have been mostly for Smer and show a slight declining trend for the both the “Slovak national” and “right” parties (their current recovery takes them back only to a point that would have been considered low for much of 2007 and 2008.
As for parliament, the August figures again correspond with the likely “real world” consideration that were elections held today Smer would require one (and only one) coalition partner.
We will need to wait for figures from FOCUS or MVK to make a better assessment of whether UVVM’s trends show echoes elsewhere or whether July was an anomaly, though given the erratic change, I bet on the anomaly.
As always, the actual polling numbers are available online at Google Docs:
And the most recent three months are below in tabular format (using “iframe” which may not work on all browsers).