The Czech population holds somewhat ambivalent opinions on elections and participation in them. Those polled almost universally agree that participation in elections is a personal matter (91%) and that the possibility to vote is a right that must be exercised (84%). Slightly less consensus exists as to the statements that voting is not a duty but is necessary for society (75%), and that participation in elections is a civic duty (71%).
In October, 37% of those polled said they were satisfied with the current political situation in the Czech Republic (‘very satisfied’ – 2%, ‘quite satisfied’ – 35%), whereas 58% were dissatisfied (‘quite dissatisfied’ – 43% and ‘very dissatisfied’ – 15%) and 4% did not know. Since the June election to the Chamber of Deputies, no significant change has occurred in respect of the satisfaction with the political situation.
Almost two thirds of CSSD voters would also support the party today, while 8% would vote the KSCM and 6% the ODS. Former voters of the CSSD include a relatively high percentage of those who would not participate in an election today or do not know whom to vote for (17%). 57% of respondents who voted the ODS in the June election would also support the party in late September, whereas 15% would now vote the CSSD and 7% the KDU-CSL.
Shortly before the local elections, approximately three quarters of citizens eligible to vote (77%) expressed their willingness to participate, with 43% saying they are definitely going to participate. On the other hand, only 15% of respondents said in advance that they probably or definitely would not vote in the elections. The real turnout was lower by over 30 percentage points, with major differences between the survey results and the real turnout occurring in places where citizens chose their representatives in town municipalities or councils of corporate towns.
Throughout the ‘super election’ year 2002, the Public Opinion Research Centre investigated how voters’ decisions developed, with its September and October surveys focusing on the coming Senate election. The data obtained are fully comparable with those that had been, since 1996, regularly collected before Senate elections. Voters of the KSCM and the ODS were most firmly decided about their choice (both roughly 30% as opposed to the average of 23%), followed by 34% of those who said that the Senate election would definitely take place in their constituency; more than a half of those who were firmly decided to participate in the election; 58% of those who said they knew all or almost candidates and 46% of those who were decided to vote for parties and not for personalities.
For the second time since the June election to the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic’s Parliament, all respondents having the right to vote were asked a question investigating which party they would vote for if an election to the Chamber of Deputies took place the following week. Compared to the end of September, only one change occurred: the CSSD has lost some of its lead over the ODS.
Compared to the previous election, the turnout in the last election to the Chamber of Deputies declined dramatically (76.3% of eligible voters in 1996; 73.9% in 1998 but only 58.0% in 2002). This election brought two surprises: in addition to the above-mentioned low turnout, the election also resulted in unwelcome significant gains for the KSCM. There is a great resemblance between some parameters of these two developments.
75% of respondents that are eligible to vote said they intended to participate in the November local elections, whereas 17% said they were not going to vote in the elections. 37% of citizens are determined about whom to vote for, while 21% admit they may change their mind and 23% have not decided yet whom to support. 57% of those polled trust their mayor, whereas 31% do not.
Throughout the ‘super election’ year 2002, the Public Opinion Research Centre investigated how voters’ decisions developed, with its September survey focusing, inter alia, on the coming Senate election. Almost a half (43%) of those who said they would definitely vote in the Senate election were decided about whom to support. The decision to vote in the Senate election was the most firm among those who would support the ODS and the KSCM in a potential election to the Chamber of Deputies.
For the first time since the June election to the Chamber of Deputies, all respondents having the right to vote were asked an open question (i.e. without a list of political parties being used) investigating which party they would vote for if an election to the Chamber of Deputies took place the following week. The structure of the answers given is summarised in the table. The question ‘Imagine that an election to the Chamber of Deputies is held next week.