Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Palikot Movement wins hands down with 56% support

The Palikot Movement (RP) has seized the polling lead and garnered a whopping 56% backing from Poles. The Civic Platform (PO) and Law and Justice (PiS), who tend to place one-two in normal one-might-say boring opinion polls, have thus been swept aside. At least that is the conclusion of Poland X's first Facebook-like opinion poll.

Poland X has crunched the Facebook like numbers for the main political parties and are ready to call the election. Yes, the Palikot Movement took just over 87,000 of the 156,000 likes to crush all others. PM Donald Tusk's PO was second with 17%, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski's PiS placed third with 11%. The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), the RP's main-rival-cum-main-potential-ally, was next with 9%, and the Polish Peasants' Party (PSL), everyone's favourite junior coalition party, brought up the rear with 6% support.

To compare, the PO led with 28% in one of the latest "boring" polls, PiS got 24%, the SLD was next with 7%, and the RP and the PSL tied for last with 6% (TNS Polska).

It's impossible to conceive of Facebook being wrong on popularity. Why else would companies pay millions and millions to have prominent roles on everyone's favourite social engineering networking website? So how can Palikot's political baby do so poorly in normal polls but so well among Facebookians (or is that Facebookers)?

The RP's FB lead probably rests on the fact your average RP fan is young, urban and internet-connected, if not internet-dependent. There's a reason the Palikot Movement is often known as Samoobrona for urbanites. Its FB lead is thus not so surprising. Knowing Palikot, one could easily see some cash splashed around to rig the system as well.

More surprising perhaps is the PO's poor showing. The PO's electorate should also all be internet addicted. Maybe the failure to like shows some essential weakness? Could this be the proverbial canary in the coalmine ahead of the election-heavy years of 2014 and 2015? Could Poles finally be sick of the PO?

One can't say so yet. If any of the main opposition parties were well placed enough to jump into a clear polling lead, they would have done so. The PO has had to rule through the worst economic crisis to hit Poland since WWII, it had a president actively blocking it for the first three years of its rule, and it has been in place since 2007 (and 2006 in some local governments), pumping up the fatigue factor. That it can still boast of the polling lead is impressive.

Can this last? I think the answer to that questions relies on whether Poles can be scared shitless of Jaroslaw Kaczynski again? If so, the PO's road to more election wins is clear.

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