Shortly before the parliamentary election, only 14% of respondents classified themselves as staunch supporters. On the other hand, 30% of those polled would vote a certain party just because it annoys them the least. The respondents almost universally agree that they vote for a certain party because they identify with the party ideology (86%), the party programme (85%) and because they place trust in the party leaders (78%).

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In its June survey conducted very shortly before the election to the Chamber of Deputies, the Public Opinion Research Centre investigated who would be the most acceptable prime minister. The respondents expressed their opinions on nine potential candidates for the post. Although Stanislav Gross (68%) and Petra Buzková (65%), both from the CSSD, are assessed even more positively than Vladimír Špidla, Czech citizens find Mr Špidla very acceptable – shortly before the election, a half of those polled would welcome him as the prime minister.

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From the end of January onwards, the public considered the ODS and the CSSD to be the undisputed champions in the election to the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic’s Parliament – these two parties kept consolidating their position during the following months, to the detriment of the Coalition, which was for a long time, until April, the third most successful group in the election. Shortly before the election, the loss in the popularity of the Coalition meant that the party preferences equalled those of the KSCM, which long ranked fourth and whose changes were seen as very stable during the pre-election six months.

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In early June, i.e. a few days before the election, over a half of voters were decided which party to vote for. Less than a fifth of voters (17%) admitted they might change their mind and the same number of respondents (18%) said they were unlikely to vote. Roughly a tenth of respondents did not know. Since this year’s first survey, conducted in late March and early April, there was a gradual increase in the number of the decided, setoff mostly by a drop in the number of those dithering.

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When evaluating party preferences in June, the Public Opinion Research Centre employed, compared to surveys conducted in the period between elections, different methods. As was the case in late May, all respondents eligible to vote were on 5 to 12 June 2002 asked a closed question investigating which party they will vote for in the June election to the Chamber of Deputies. The respondents were shown cards with names of all political parties running in the election to the Chamber of Deputies.

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To clarify how the electorate decides, a May survey of the Public Opinion Research Centre investigated to what extent voters were certain of their party securing sufficient votes to get into the Chamber of Deputies, and how they would behave if not fully certain about it winning seats in the Chamber of Deputies. All those who said which party they wanted to vote for (856 respondents) were asked the following question: ‘Do you think that in the coming election this party will secure sufficient votes to get into the Chamber of Deputies?’ A majority (84%) of respondents are certain that the party of their choice will, whereas 11% are not and 5% do not know.

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When evaluating party preferences in May, the Public Opinion Research Centre employed, compared to previous surveys, different methods. In a departure from tradition, all respondents eligible to vote were asked a closed question investigating which party they will vote for in the June election to the Chamber of Deputies. The respondents were shown cards with names of all political parties running in the coming election to the Chamber of Deputies.

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Activities of the US-DEU and the ODS in the Chamber of Deputies are more frequently assessed positively by better-educated people and people with good living standards. Citizens with good living standards also more frequently give positive assessment of activities of the CSSD. The KDU-CSL receives an above-average positive assessment in the Olomouc region, whereas it is perceived negatively in big cities.

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Since the end of January, when the first survey related to the coming election was conducted, the public considered the ODS and the CSSD to be the two undisputed and very close champions in the election – these two parties kept consolidating their position during the following months, to the detriment of the Coalition, the third most successful group. After the last poll, carried out in late April, the Coalition still had a narrow lead over the KSCM, the fourth most successful party.

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How did the electorate perceive the election campaign? According to how respondents of the ‘Our society 2002’ survey assessed the election campaign, it seems that the public was, well in advance, getting psychologically ready for a much fiercer election battle of political parties. In April, i.e. before the peak of the election campaign, respondents were rather critical of the campaign, whereas in late May they were somewhat more willing to admit that election campaigns are necessary and provide them with information about programmes of political parties.

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