Party preferences in January 2003

All respondents having the right to vote were traditionally 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.

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The electorate’s decisions in the ‘super election’ year with hindsight

The Public Opinion Research Centre was investigating the decision-making of the electorate throughout the ‘super election’ year 2002. With the benefit of hindsight, we would like to compare how voters made their decisions prior to the June election to the Chamber of Deputies and the autumn elections to the Senate and municipalities. At which stage of the election campaigns did voters decide whom to vote for? Do they decide in the last minute or do they know well in advance whom to support? In the event of elections to the Senate and municipalities, decisions on who will get my vote are made significantly later than in elections to the Chamber of Deputies.

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The public evaluates political parties

For the third time this year, we asked respondents to evaluate the performance of individual parties in the Chamber of Deputies. The best assessment is given to the CSSD (viewed positively by 55% of respondents), whereas the worst to the KSCM and the US-DEU (viewed positively by only 24% of respondents). Comparing the current results with the findings of the May survey, we can clearly see that there are fewer positive and concurrently more negative assessments of the US-DEU and the ODS.

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Party preferences in late November and early December 2002

All respondents having the right to vote were traditionally 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.

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Citizens on participation in elections

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%).

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Satisfaction with the political situation

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.

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Shifts in voter support

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.

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Citizens and local elections

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.

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The electorate shortly before the Senate election

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.

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Party preferences in October

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.

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