Early guesses: Smer much higher than last time

Really interesting news here:  I’ve been tracking Smer and it is consistently producing results 10% above the equivalent numbers last time, suggesting a result more like 43% or 44% than the exit polls at 37%-39%.

Here’s the chart from last election against this time. It shows how the results change over time, every 10 minutes as results come in.  This, along with the possible adjustments to the exit polls point to a victory for Smer much bigger than exit polls would indicate.

First guess

For the last 2 elections I’ve been tracking results as they come in, every 10 minutes.  Based on what we saw last time (and the time before) I have a very rough model for judging results and how they relate to exit polls.  After 250 they are too rough to make much of a conclusion.  By the time we get to about 1000 polling stations, it should be much better.  Last time we reached 1000 around 1:30 after the election, about 20 minutes from now.

  Based on 2010 after 250 After 250 Consistent with exit polls?
Smer May be much too high 53.52 Yes. Final in the 40s
SDKU May be very low 4.83 Yes. Final considerably higher
KDH May be a bit high 8.75 Yes, Final somewhat higher
Most-Hid May be very low 4.46 Yes, Final considerably higher
SNS No clear pattern 5.1 No way to tell
SMK May be very low 3.64 Consistent with either in or out
SaS May be very low 3.13 Yes, Final somewhat higher
OLaNO No clear pattern 5.43 No way to tell

Voting for small parties

One interesting thing to follow in this election:  the number of votes for parties that do not make the 5% threshold.  In 2010 it was 15.94%.

If FOCUS is right, then this time it will be 20.2%.  If MVK is right, it will be 19.0% 

Both represent a significant increase over last time.  We haven’t seen the exit polls for small parties but it suggests a pretty large number of votes for parties without much chance…

Exit poll adjustments

I’m having a hard time listening to talking heads even on TA3 talking about exit poll numbers as if they are real, when they are often quite far off.  There’s no attempt to say, hey, these polls were off systematically last time.  Instead, there’s blather by otherwise smart people (see the bottom of this post).  What if we adjusted current results by what happened last time?

First MVK:


MVK Exit poll Seats Adjustment based on last time   adj. seats
smer 37.3 69 6.79 44.09 83
kdh 10.8 20 -1.38 9.42 18
olano 7.6 14 ? 7.6 14
sdku 7.5 14 -0.38 7.12 13
Most-Hid 6.8 13 -0.08 6.72 12
SaS 5.9 11 -0.26 5.64 10
SMK 5.1 9 -1.47 3.63 0


FOCUS Exit Poll Seats adjustment adj. share adj. seats
smer 39.6 75 5.1 44.7 80
kdh 9.9 19 -0.6 9.3 17
olano 8.8 16   8.8 16
sdku 8.1 15 -2.7 5.4 9
Most-Hid 6.3 12 1.4 7.7 14
SaS 7.1 13 0.5 7.6 14
SMK 4.4 0 -2.0 2.4 0
SNS 4.1 0 -1.0 3.1 0

So what to read from this?  Better chance than might be apparent how for a one-party Smer government (or a Smer-coalition with an expendible partner).

Recaption: "All election-night political commentary"


MVK Exit poll Seats Adjustment based on last time   adj. seats
smer 37.3 69 6.79 44.09 83
kdh 10.8 20 -1.38 9.42 18
olano 7.6 14 ? 7.6 14
sdku 7.5 14 -0.38 7.12 13
Most-Hid 6.8 13 -0.08 6.72 12
SaS 5.9 11 -0.26 5.64 10
SMK 5.1 9 -1.47 3.63 0

Next Exit Poll


New results show similar rank ordering, flipping SaS and Most-Hid:

Party % Seats Party % Seats
Smer 39.6 75 Smer 37.3 69
KDH 9.9 19 KDH 10.8 20
OL 8.8 16 OL 7.6 14
SDKU 8.1 15 SDKU 7.5 14
SaS 7.1 13 SaS 5.9 11
Most-Hid 6.3 12 Most-Hid 6.8 13
MK 4.4 0 MK 5.1 9
SNS 4.1 0 SNS    

Neither gives Smer a majority of deputies, but (as the next post will show) both polls last time underestimated Smer and overestimated others…

Exit polls

OK, exit polls out from MVK:

party % seats
smer 37.3 69
kdh 10.8 20
olano 7.6 14
sdku 7.5 14
Most-Hid 6.8 13
SaS 5.9 11
SMK 5.1 9

Here’s what happened with last election’s exit polls.  Not great predictive capability:

Prediction was   points Prediction was points
Smer too low by 5.1 too low by 6.8
KDH too high by 0.6 too high by 1.4
Most-Hid too low by 1.4 too high by 0.1
SDKU too high by 2.7 too high by 0.4
SNS too high by 1.0 too high by 0.6
MK too high by 2.0 too high by 1.5
SaS too low by 0.5 too high by 0.3

If this holds, it would suggest that SMK may not survive the night, but we shall see.  Does suggest that since last time SNS was overestimated, and it’s not showing up, that it may not make it this time.  Again, shall see.

Smer on TA3 prepared statement immediately played the ‘zlepenec’ card (and just did it again).  Clear left or fragmented right…

Back from the dead–better late than never?

So I need to ask Slovakia not to hold elections during my winter teaching term.  It is highly inconvenient.  Research and teaching have taken precedence over blog updates recently, but now it’s election day and I’m looking forward to doing some live-blogging this election night.  I’ll keep updating as the time permits. 

First, my own highly unscientific guesses about the results:

Turnout: 54%
Party Votes Seats
Smer 40.5 78
OL 4.5 0
SDKU 6.5 12
KDH 12 23
Most 8.5 16
SaS 6 11
SNS 5 10
SMK 4.5 0
99% 4 0

Next, a brief guide to exit polls.  Here’s what happened last time:

Type Source Average raw difference Average percent difference
Final Monthly Polls Polis 1.5 12%
MVK 1.8 22%
FOCUS 1.9 19%
ASA 2.0 21%
AVVM 2.2 22%
Presov 2.9 30%
Median 3.2 41%
Exit Polls MVK 1.4 12%


In other words, even the exit polls were off by an average of 1.4% or 12% per party. I’ll try to post the specifics about the exit polls from MVK and FOCUS in a short while

Finally, a few brief words about how to read the very early results:

Party Expectation at certain levels of counting
  Very early (200-500) Early (1000 polling stations)
Smer May be much too high Will drop by about 5%-7%
SDKU May be very low May rise by 10-15%
KDH May be a bit high Should stay approximately the same (2010) or fall slightly (2006)
Most-Hid May be very low should rise considerably 10% (2006 SMK) to 30% (2010 Most)
SNS No clear pattern Should stay the same (2006) or rise slightly by a about 5-6% (2010)
SMK May be very low should rise considerably 10% (2006 SMK) to 30% (2010 SMK)
SaS May be very low Should rise by about 5-7% (2010)
OLaNO No clear pattern May rise slightly? 2-5% (2010 based on SaS)
99% No Clear pattern SF rose in 2006, SDL fell in 2010, SaS rose in 2010

Just in time for Christmas

Slovakia’s first winter election creates all sorts of new possibilities. Several weeks ago the Slovak National Party tested the limits with a new billboard guaranteed to raise eyebrows:

The most surprising thing about this, however, is not its characterization of the EU stabilization (benefiting Greece, and Spain and Portugal and Italy) as the work of the devil.  That’s pretty normal for Slovakia’s politics (and particularly so for SNS).

Equally unsurprising, but rather more unsettling, is the depiction of a Santa wearing a political armband, and not just any red armband, but one that includes an eagle clutching a round symbol with clear straight lines set against a deep red background.

Slightly more surprising is the demon’s choice to wear fashion with designer labels not only by the current government parties SDKU, KDH and Most-Hid, but also SNS’s recent (and, from its perspective only potential future) coalition partner, Smer.  Of course Smer joined with the others in supporting the Euro stabilization, but this may be a sign that SNS will (like SaS on the other side) make strong use of the Euro question in its campaign.  The question is whether in trying to pull voters back from Smer, it also pushes Smer to the other side, though this may not be that big a risk since Smer has shown itself inclined to pick the weakest coalition partner, and it is hard to imagine that not being SNS (assuming it crosses the 5% threshold).

But the surprises don’t end there.  I had a nagging feeling about this that was confirmed by Martin Votruba of the University of Pittsburgh.  Martin writes:

The telling thing … is that SNS [despite its nativist approach] is dragging in an alienimage for Christmas, [using the traditional American icon of Santa Claus instead of the] traditional depiction of Jezisko (Baby Jesus) who brings presents.

[Furthermore,] images like the one on the SNS billboard were first imported from the Soviet Union as Dedo Mraz (Grandfather Frost) to replace Jezisko and imposed on people, with no success except in public St. Nicholas and Christmas events, and now by advertisers as Santa.

Many don’t care, of course, but there’s been a good deal of internet comments in the past on advertising that uses Santa Claus, in which people ridiculed ad statements like “Santa Claus will bring you…” [and noted that] that the manufacturers/advertisers clearly don’t have a clue that presents in Slovakia are brought by Jezisko.

This “alien” image brought in to represent the Slovak National Party is very much like when HZDS in its nationalist fervor put up billboards in the 1990s with images of “Slovakia” where the pastoral landscape in front of the the highly symbolic Tatras mountains turned out to be a stock picture of the Swiss countryside.

I am personally glad to see this usage by SNS as it helps to reinforce a point raised by a colleague of mine during Detroit’s Noel Night celebration as we passed an “Occupy Detroit” activist dressed in a Santa suit.  He noted the interesting juxtaposition between Santa’s apparently left-wing socio-economic ideology (giving stuff away for free) and his rather right-wing cultural predispositions: demanding to know who is naughty or nice, engaging in surveillance about whether children are awake or asleep.  This insight actually helps me solve a teaching problem that has been troubling me for a long time.  When I teach American politics (or indeed the politics of almost any country), I try to point out that political competition may be multi-dimensional, and that in many countries there is a disconnect between the economic and the cultural.  I often have students take online tests like, The Political Compass or Idealog which print out their results on 2-dimensional charts like this one.

One of the problems with this, however, is that of the empty quadrant: America’s two major political parties occupy the lower left and upper right, and students can see that the Libertarian party occupies the lower left, but who’s the opposite of the libertarian?  Who in the United States believes in widespread distribution of selective benefits while at the same time demanding strict adherence to cultural norms?  Pat Buchanan?  Maybe, sometimes.  The real answer, clearly, is Santa.

Postscript.  Santa’s hot these days.  If you don’t like the SNS ad or my own infographic, try this one.

Thank you, Vaclav Havel

I know no better way to mourn the death Vaclav Havel to remember the congratulations on his birth that friends snuck past censors back in 1989.  Then they wished him health and continued success.  Now I thank him for that success–success I not in his fame or political success but in his constant attempt to live honestly and responsibly, whether as prisoner or president–and I extend to him my vague hope that effort to live in truth somehow endures after death.

havel closeup1

“On the day 5 October 1989 Ferdinand Vanek of Maly Hrad celebrated his birthday.  Thanks to him for the hard work which he has done in in his life and continues to do, and his friends and co-workers wish him many more years of health and further success in his work.”

Thanks to my student Daniela Brabcova from Plzen who knew enough about Havel to spot this gem when it came out, kept a copy and shared it with me in the spring of 1991. More here: http://www.pozorblog.com/2009/10/it-was-twenty-years-ago-today-or-the-audacity-of-hoax-prequel/.