Slovakia’s Presidential Election, Second Round

I have no time to day to do much analysis except to say that the weekend’s 55.5% to 45.5% is closer than I expected a year ago or even several months ago.  It means, in effect, at least 15% of the voters of the current coalition (Smer, SNS, HZDS) and opponents of the previous coalition (KSS and HZD) crossed the aisle and voted for a candidate from the previous coalition. This is even more strking to the extent that Radicova ran for president as a member of a party sharply at odds with all of the parties listed above.  Gasparovic by contrast has been able to maintain an arm’s length distance from unpopular actions by major parties, though this may have cost him as well since he lacked formal ties to party organizations.  In any case, Slovakia’s opposition has clearly been delighted by this result.  The question for me is whether the result will inspire them to compete vigorously or whether (as in the 2nd place but surprisingly strong finish of SDKU in 2006) will lead to complacency.  It would not be the first time that SDKU and its allies had failed to correctly read the electoral tea leaves.

As a side note, I realize that my epic prediction from last week actually never made it into the blog thanks to a mistake I made in formatting.  That’s just fine, but I’m happy with the form of the prediction at least and so I include it here.  I was off by about 1.2% but given what we knew, I suspect that a random guess limited by the parameters we had in front of us would have yielded an equally good guess:

  Total 1st round Share to Gasparovic in 2nd round Share to Radicova in 2nd round Total to Gasparovic
Gasparovic 46.71 1 0 46.71
Radicova 38.05 0 1 0
Miklosko 5.41 0.6 0.4 3.246
Martinakova 5.12 0.2 0.8 1.024
Melnik 2.45 0.8 0.2 1.96
Bollova 1.14 0.8 0.2 0.912
Sidor 1.11 0.8 0.2 0.888
Sum 0 0 0 54.74

And a final note.  I argue last time that if Radicova could increase Hungarian turnout she might be able to win.  She did manage to increase turnout in those places and still only picked up 6.5% overall.

First Round, Second Round

Turnout, First RoundTurnout, Second Round

The rest of the results are available on the website of Slovakia’s statistical official.  I’ll just post the pictures.  The sharpness of contrast is noteworthy, a range from 15% to 95% for Radicova, and 5% to 85% for Gasparovic.  By my rough estimation, that is quite high (as high as the difference in Ukraine in 2004, though the split is not as pervasive):





Presidential Election, First Round

Although the results were closer than almost anyone expected, the polls were not wildly off: only by a matter of 5-6% points and much less for the major candidates.  The closeness makes the second round interesting, though it’s much harder to see Radicova gaining 12 than Gasparovic gaining 5.

If the same voters were to turn out, it would be easy to make predictions, since we can guess fairly well about the 2nd choice preferences of voters for Martinakova, Bollova and Sidor.  For Miklosko and Melnik it is different (for related reasons):

  • Miklosko’s KDH fought bitterly with HZDS during the period when Gasparovic was the party’s chair of parliament and even though Miklosko will not back Radicova, many of his supporters may be willing to do so.  We shall see here whether past conflicts now rendered largely meaningless (ex-KDH v. ex-HZDS) will trump potentially emerging present conflicts over genuinely ideological questions (without looking more closely at the data, I would guess that Miklosko supporters are more similar to Gasparovic voters (culturally conservative, economically mixed) than to Radicova voters (economically mixed, culturally liberal).
  • Melnik’s HZDS fought bitterly after 2002 against Gasparovic and did so again in this campaign.  Here we shall see whether a current party conflict (Meciar v. Gasparovic) is stronger than a simultaneous ideological conflict (Melnik’s voters would unreservedly prefer somebody like Gasparovic over Radicova if it were not for the party ties.)  In this case I suspect ideology wins out and most Melnik voters go to Gasparovic.

This rough guess would produce something like the following.  Radicova gains more than Gasparovic but not enough to win:

Total 1st Round Share to Gasparovic in 2nd round Share to Radicova in 2nd round Total for Gasparovic Total for Radicova

Of course the same voters will not necessarily turn out and so if Radicova hopes to win, she will need a much bigger turnout in areas of her strength.  This might not actually be as hard as it seems since many of the areas of her greatest strength (particularly in the south) were in areas with rather low turnout, particularly along the country’s southern border.  Hungarians, it would appear from this aggregate data, may have supported Radicova at much higher than average levels but may have turned out in lower than average levels.  If this is true and if Radicova could mobilize Hungarian voter simply to turn out at average levels, she could come very close to Gasparovic’s totals :


In the meantime, the daily papers have some reasonably good reportage (see: for articles I’ve tagged) and the Stasticky Urad has some other nice graphs and charts (see  For ease of comparision I’ve included some of the more interesting ones below.

Gasparovic’s regional totals:
Gasparovic Totals

Radicova’s  regional totals:


Miklosko’s regional totals:

Regions “won” by Gasparovic versus those “won” by Radicova

Gasparovic v. Radicova

2009 Presidential Election, First week of March

 I should probably post something on the presidential election campaign in Slovakia, though there is not much to say, both because the race has been extremely stable and because I simply have not been able to find much polling.  FOCUS has not yet offered numbers and UVVM only started this month (as far as I can tell) and so we’ve only got irregularly and incompletely reported numbers from MVK.  Still, that is something.  The race as we know it appears below.  Gasparovic has consistently led the field, hovering around 50% in every poll except a very early one in 2007 that included likely competitors from the Slovak national bloc (Meciar and Slota).  Radicova, by contrast has hovered around 35% (except in that first poll at a time when she had less name recognition).  Other candidates have gone and come, but Martinakova of Slobodne Forum appears to have a solid 5% and Miklosko of KDS just a bit less.  At the bottom comes the trio of Bollova (former KSS), Sidor (KSS) and Melnik (HZDS) with 2% or less.

Poll results for Presidential Candidates, Full Field, in Slovakia, 2009

Comparing these candidates with their party results is not always easy or useful but it does lend certain insight into the underlying dynamics of the country’s politics.  Gasparovic has polled 50% when his own former party HZD has languished below 2%. Clearly Gasparovic gains most of his support from Smer and SNS (though he slightly underpolls the combined strength of those two parties).  Gasparovic may also gain some support from voters of his previous former party, HZDS.  This is mitigated to some degree by HZDS chair Vladimir Meciar’s idiosyncratic campaign against Gasparovic, whom he regards as a traitor to his party, but while this campaign may cost Gasparovic some votes, it certainly has not been successful in luring voters to HZDS’s own candidate, Melnik, who stands at 2%, less than a third of HZDS’s 6% (and it shows HZDS’s continued decline).  Bollova and Sidor together attract more votes than KSS, but only by about a half of a percentage point, so it does not seem that these alternatives on the statist left draw many voters away from Gasparovic.

Perhaps the most interesting question is on the right.  The parties of the right (including the Hungarians) consistently poll about 35%, about equal to Radicova’s total, but Radicova likely shares the vote of that bloc with Martinakova and Miklosko who together poll around 10%.  This means that either Radicova or the other two (or all three) pull some voters from uncommitted voters.  Martinakova outpolls her party by about 3-4%) and Miklosko’s party has only about 1% in the polls, so virtually all of his vote comes from partisans of other parties.  It is difficult without the actual data to assess the ebb and flow here, but it would appear that the presidential candidates of the right-wing parties are, by a solid margin, more popular than the parties themselves, and this suggests some room for growth on the right side of the political spectrum (but only if those parties were to seek out new leadership, something that KDH and SMK–but not SDKU–may currently be thinking about).

The potential gain becomes most obvious in those polls that pit Gasparovic directly against Radicova.  In these, surveys (of which we have only two, both conducted by MVK) Radicova draws closer to Gasparovic, gaining an average of 8% compared to Gasparovic’s gain of 5%.  This is to be expected since the candidates closer to Radicova (Martinakova and Miklosko) have more support than those closer to Gasparovic (Bollova, Sidor, Melnik), but it is still noteworthy since it suggests that a moderately charismatic candidate of the right can gain significantly larger numbers of voters than do the parties of the right.

Poll results for Presidential Candidates, Top Two, in Slovakia, 2009