Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Neck and neck

The Civic Platform (PO) has a big polling lead. A month or so before the election, all and sundry talk about how boring the election campaign is. The only real question is with whom the PO will govern. But Law and Justice (PiS) runs an excellent campaign. Jaroslaw Kaczynski's party, which moderates massively for the race, starts from well back but successively closes the gap with the PO until just before the election, it pulls even. Then, it scores a shock victory on Sunday.

It's funny how the current 2011 campaign looks like the 2005 version described above. Will PiS really be able to win? Will the PO really squander away what was an over 20-percentage point polling lead not too very long ago?

Yes and yes.

First, saying PiS can win the election does not mean they will. Most polls still put the PO ahead and Kaczynski still has a big negative electorate.

But Kaczynski is running from the opposition, unlike in 2007 when he was the prime minister of stormy, chaotic, frankly embarrassing governments. Running from the opposition puts the onus on the government and means he does not have to defend his track record. On the defensive, Kaczynski is prickly and alienating.

Prime Minister and PO leader Donald Tusk has also built up a negative electorate. Or, at the very least, he has used up a lot of his political capital. The PO has likewise alienated its core electorate with a move to the wishy-washy centre.

The Platform has also given relatively cautious promises compared with PiS and other parties promising billions to anyone from pensioners to families to industrial workers. In fact, the PO promises little, except for the fact it is not PiS and Tusk is not Kaczynski. When it tried to be the default pick in 2005, this failed miserably. When in 2007, it gave voters something to vote for, it won.

Somehow, the guy behind the Civic Platform's disastrous 2005 election campaigns is back and running the equally dismal 2011 version.

So, PiS can clearly win on October 9. Will it is another question. It is just possible that the PO has PiS just where it wants them in that a Kaczynski that can win the election could just be the motivation PO voters need to actually vote again and to vote for the PO. It should be an interesting few days….

1 comment:

  1. Realistically this election is like every election in Poland, it purely depends on voter turn out. If the law was to chance to compulsory voting, it would mostly likely wipe PiS off the voter map with a really small percentage of the vote, PO would cruise through and excitingly enough, if just for the pantomime, work with team Palikot to form government. Fact is I am expecteing a voter turn out well below 50% this time maybe even below 30%. Therefore it will be a close run thing. Then again Poles traditionally misrepresent in political poles. Sounds like a tongue twister!