Two new polls show that most Austrians are against Kurz remaining in politics – while his base remains fervently in favor. Do polls matter? They allegedly did to now former-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, now mired in allegations that he orchestrated corrupt relationships between his friends at the Finance Ministry, the tabloid Österreich and a pollster, resulting in glowing coverage of manipulated poll results that may have helped speed his rise to power (read here for more). Kurz stepped back as chancellor in order to keep the governing Turquoise-Green coalition alive. He continues to lead the ÖVP and is head of its parliamentary faction.
Support declines for the ÖVP
The first, an Österreich Trend (Austria Trend) survey conducted by Peter Hajek for wire service APA and TV channel ATV, shows that 65% of respondents want Kurz to step back both as Klubobmann (head of the parliamentary faction) and as head of the ÖVP, ORF reported. Only 27% want him to stay. The results are flipped among ÖVP voters: 81% want Kurz to remain in politics, and only 13% think he should step back entirely.
Overall support for the ÖVP fell 11 points to 23%, putting it head-to-head with the Social Democrats (SPÖ). The far-right FPÖ came in with 20% (up 2 points), the Greens with 16%, NEOs 12% and the anti-Covid-vaxxers at the MFG at 4%. (Results were based on telephone and online surveys of 800 people aged 16 and up conducted from October 18—21; with an error margin of +/- 3.5%.)
The return of Chancellor Kurz?
A separate poll carried about by Unique Research for the weekly magazine Profil over the same time period showed similar results: 73% are against Kurz returning as chancellor, while 22% are in favor (the rest did not provide a response). But 69% of declared ÖVP supporters are hoping for a Kurz comeback (800 were surveyed; error margin +/- 3.5%). The final outcomes of this and other ongoing corruption investigations may be several years away, so perceptions remain potent – and Kurz’s party is clearly not convinced that the Wunderkind’s time has passed.