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.

4 thoughts on Dashboard News, February 2010: MVK shows Coalition Down

  1. Kevin

    Since the Hungarian vote has always hovered around 10% it seems to me that the hopes of both SMK and Most/Hid making it to parliament could depend on Bugar’s ability to attract Slovak voters – but how many Slovak supporters does the party really have?

    Dzurinda was becoming a millstone around the SDKU’s neck. Radicova scored nearly 45% in the presidential election run-off and seems a popular choice. The fact that she resigned from parliament so quickly after the voting misdemeanour last year will have stood to her favour. I can well believe in this ‘honeymoon’ bounce, although these things often don’t last.


    • I agree, though the Hungarian vote has actually always been higher than 10%–more like 11% or more, making the possibility of both falling below 5% fairly unlikely. I don’t know about Bugar’s ability to attract Slovak voters but polls suggest that he does currently have a small but significant share of supporters who are Slovak.

      I agree with you with regard to Dzurinda’s affect on SDKU. If I had to guess–which I should not do–I would guess that Smer did not expect Dzurinda to step down when faced with the logo scandal (and also that without Kalinak’s explosives issue Smer might not have raised this issue so early).

  2. Dzurinda was a liability for SDKU and the right in general.

    In the US presidents have term limits of 8 years, and in the UK, prime ministers who go on much longer start to become unpopular for “reasons” which equally applied earlier on. There seems to be an eight-year itch factor. Nobody wanted Dzurinda back, just his party. Radicova is popular with some people, less so with others (she is often described has having “teacherly” manners or affectations), but there is always SaS for people who think like that.

  3. That poll also says that 10 percent of people won’t vote and 16 percent of people aren’t really sure if they will vote and who for. That gives an unrealistic turnout of 84 percent. The real figure will much lower. You can safely take away a quarter of the voters who are currently assigned to particular political parties in these polls. The question is where to take them away from. Smer is an obvious place as they are the government and there is a certain amount of disillusionment.

    I am going to go out on a limb and be (I think) the first comment leaver on this blog to predict a coalition based broadly around SDKU-KDH-SaS after the elections.

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