Slovakia Public Opinion Resources

I have just posted my archive of public opinion polling resources for Slovakia from 2002 to the present on a google spreadsheet:

In an ideal world, the producers of Slovakia’s opinion data would themselves provide a service of this sort (and FOCUS has come close) but since this does not seem immediately forthcoming, it is easy for me to do it here.  As an aggregator, furthermore, I have the advantage of being able to compare multiple polls to one another, which individual providers may not be willing or able to do.

In addition to the general archive listed above, the archive has two pages that are designed for quick review:

A year-in-review page showing developments since the 2006 parliamentary election

An at-a-glance review of the current status and the most recent three months, including explicit comparisons of results from various polling firm.

The spreadsheet contains graphs and tables tracking the following:

Share of party support:

Share of seats (if elections were held today):

Share of bloc support:

My hope is to update this spreadsheet on a monthly basis (or more frequently as polling data becomes available). 

The Rebirth of Pozorblog, Mark II

The coming year on this blog promises to be a more active one. The reasons are all good in their own right:

  • Google spreadsheets has finally added a graph function which permits the development of a useful on-line archive of Slovak public opinion resources.
  • Fulbright has been generous enough to grant us six months in Bratislava. In return, I have promised to disseminate findings, speculations and impressions via this blog (among other places)
  • A Wayne State “citizenship and technology” initiative has added a new area of focus to my work and for which this kind of page is essential.

Future posts will contain more on each of these.

Joke Blog?

If there are any readers left, I apologize to them for the
hiatus. Life has intervened and every
day away makes the return a bit harder (and so I learn the hard way lessons
that are to be had for free from anybody who does this with any regularity). But banalities get us nowhere. A subsequent post will address some public
opinion and polling related questions—what this blog is really for—but there
are a few others that I wanted to post in the meantime

 First, two items sent to me by long ago Martin Butora,
now dated by my delinquence, but still displaying Martin’s consistent eloquence:

Second, a clever but
contentious pictoral joke. Its
interpretation depends not only on what readers think of Fico, but what they
think of Benedict XVI.


It is notable, by
the way, that as of the week before the election, there were surprisingly few
Fico jokes to be found online, especially compared to a significant number
about Dzurinda and an overwhelming number about Meciar. Either Fico is not funny or politicians in Slovakia only
become joke-worthy once in power. If the
latter—which I strongly suspect—then the coming months should bring some good
new material (and recycling of old jokes, one of them will inevitably have the
punchline, “God doesn’t think he’s Fico.” (For jokes from a previous era, see:

Third, Fico himself
made a joke reference in a recent news conference, but in an unexpected way, and one that was uncharacteristically (and therefore probably unintentionally) self-deprecating: 

Fica kritizujú za Líbyu, ten sa

, 24.2.2007
BRATISLAVA Fico tvrdí, ze na stretnutí s najvyssími líbyjskými
predstavitelmi bulharské sestricky podporil. Podla neho sa niektorí novinári na
Slovensku správajú ako rádio Jerevan, lebo "ja poviem, ze sa rozdávali
bicykle, a vy poviete, ze sa kradli autá". Vcera po kritike Fico uz o
zdravotníkoch hovoril ako o obvinených a nie o páchateloch.

In the form of the joke that I collected years ago, Radio Jerevan
is asked whether the government is giving away autos in Red Square in Moscow and
Radio Jerevan answers, "In principle, yes, only not Moscow but Leningrad, not
Red Square but the banks of the Neva, not autos but bikes, and they’re not
being given away but being stolen" Many
thanks to Sharon Fisher for finding the following, quite similar Slovak version:   

Otázka na radio Jerevan: "Je
pravda, že každý návštevník Cerveného námestia v
Moskve dostane auto?"
Odpoved: "V princípe áno. Avšak nejedná sa o Cervené námestie v Moskve,
ale o
námestie Gorkého v Kijeve. Tiež sa nejedná o autá, ale o bicykle. A nie sú
rozdávané, ale kradnuté."

This means not only that Fico has made the rather minor
mistake of switching bicycles and cars, but also that he has put himself in the
position of those (i.e. the Soviet state) who claim to be giving things away
and the reporters in the position of those who are actually telling the
unfortunate truth.

Slovakia’s Coalition: Second time as farce?

In lieu of an in-depth comment for the moment, I will post here an annotated version of the powerpoint that I presented at the Woodrow Wilson Center on Thursday.  It is a bit rough, as circumstances suggested an entirely new presentation rather than the one on "Voting for Thugs" that I had planned to give.  So without further ado (which will come later):

Kevin Deegan-Krause, Second Time As Farce: Slovakia’s 2006 Elections in Comparative Perspective, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC, 29 June 2006.
Download woodrow_wilson_center_presentation_revised.ppt

Post Election Thoughts: National Endowment for Democracy

Before I get on to the big news, I must offer apologies for the delay in a variety of posting which I will try to do over the next few days. I had the good fortune this week of presenting my thoughts about the election outcome to a variety of audiences in the capital and to responding to some of the brightest thinkers on these questions, particularly Grigorij Meseznikov, president of the Institute for Public Affairs ( In fact our Wednesday roundtable at the National Endowment for Democracy was interrupted by the news of the HZDS-SNS-Smer coalition (just moments, unfortunately, after I gave moderate odds against it). For those who are interested, I attach Grisa’s incredibly thorough treatment of Slovakia’s politics (which he finished before a coalition formed) and my own response, annotated with yellow notes to help explain the more cryptic images and to put it the context of what we know now about the coalition. More on that coalition itself in a the next post, coming soon:

Grigorij Meseznikov,
Assessing Slovakia’s 2006 Parliamentary Elections: Domestic and Regional Implications, International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy, 28 June 2006.
Download meseznikov_presentation_zs_very_final.ppt

Kevin Deegan-Krause,
Realms of Uncertainty, Stability and Instability in Slovakia’s Politics: Comments on the Presentation of Grigorij Meseznikov,
International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy, 28 June 2006.
Download meseznikov_presentation_deegan_krause_revised_comments.ppt

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.

Day After: Coalition Scenarios Revised

It’s 8 am Bratislava time and true to the promise of the Central Electoral Commission, all precincts are in.  Here is the new parliament:


There will be plenty of time in the next few days to discuss why this differed so significantly from what I supposed.  At present, I will focus briefly on what this portends.  First, the absence of KSS and SF greatly simplifies the set of coalition relationships, reducing the total number of possibilities from 256 to 64.


Of these, furthermore at least one is virtually unthinkable (SNS-SMK/MKP).  Many of the other "excluded relationships" involved SF or KSS, so other combinations are at least within the realm of possibility (though several parties have excluded the option of working with HZDS as long as Meciar remained at its head, and Meciar has made statements about his unwillingness to work with SNS chair Slota).

Of the 64 possible coalitions, 12 can be excluded because they contain SNS and SMK/MKP, 28 others do not muster a parliamentary majority, and 16 are larger than necessary for a majority.  (SME makes a muddle of this on its own page:
This leaves 8 possible coalition combinations which, because I think in graphic terms, I array below.  Among the possibilities, the most talked about are the first four:





Four others are less likely but still possible:


Using the data from a previous assessment, it is possible to gauge the internal antipathy of various members, at least at the mass level.  This may mean nothing, however, at the elite level when it comes time to making a bargain to form a government.

Coalition # Seats Weak-
est Link
3 Party: Smer+Oppo
85 -27 -16
2 Party: Smer+SDKU 81 -65 -65
3 Party: Smer+Mix
84 -69 -42
3 Party: Smer+Coal
84 -69 -49
3 Party: Smer+Mix
79 -69 -54
4 Party: No Smer Mix
80 -83 -49
4 Party: No Smer Mix
80 -90 -45
3 Party: Smer+Mix (HZDS/SMK) 80 -90 -58

So now the fun begins.

Election Day: Return Trends 2

Trends have stabilized allowing a range of confidence for final results.  The chart below shows trendlines (solid) beginning almost from the beginning, and shorter trendlines (dotted) beginning from about 50% reporting.

These results would suggest the following government possibilities:

SNS 20
Smer 50
SMK 20
KDH 14
SF 0
Smer+ HZDS+ SNS 85
Smer+ KDH+ SMK 84
Smer+ SDKU 81
Smer+ SDKU+ KDH 81
Smer+ SDKU+ SMK 81

This is not too different from what we’ve seen elsewhere but secures at least the mathematical possibility of Smer+KDH.  From the looks of it, bargaining will determine the coalition.  Fico has three distinct possibilities: HZDS/SNS, KDH/SMK or SDKU.  Since he has resolutely refused to suggest a coalition direction, it may come down to the best offer.

Election Day: Return Trends

Sme’s retransmission of the election numbers as they appear offers an interesting opportunity to collect and process potentially useless data.  I’ve been downloading the results at roughly 15-20 minute intervals and the numbers can fortunately be dropped immediately into Excel.  As might be expected, the differences in the type of party demographic and tendency of certain types of precincts to report early or late produces what may appear to be a linear relationship over time that could (in theory, if all else is equal) be used to predict final outcomes.  I do not necessarily believe that this is the case, but I present, for your entertainment, what that would look like:

What does this (meaninglessly) predict:
Smer: 28.5%
SDKU: 24%
SMK: 12.5%
SNS: 11%
KDH: 8%
HZDS: 6%
SF: 4.5%
KSS: 3%

‘Twould be an interesting world if that were the case…