So, this is it. Election silence commences tonight at midnight and it’s hight time pengovsky wraps things up. This is why today’s tittage was rescheduled but tune in tomorrow (hint, hint :mrgree: ). Virtually all polls predict a decisive victory by Janez Janša‘s Slovene Democratic Party, with Zoran Janković‘s Positive Slovenia coming in second with about 10 percent gap. Further down the ladder, Borut Pahor‘s Social Democrats seem poised to finish third, ahead of Gregor Virant‘s Citizens List.
Poll numbers over the course of the campaign (see note at the bottom)
There are a couple of ways to look at this campaign. First, the fact that Top Four were reduced to Top Three. Gregor Virant crashed and burned early in the game and his Allowancegate was a gift that kept on giving, cutting him down from almost 20% to single digits. He just wasn’t up to it and went from bad to worse, not being able to stop digging even though he was in a deep hole already. In contrast, neither Zoran Janković nor Janez Janša did a particularly good job at explaining discrepancies in their financial and real estate reports but seem to have suffered very little in the polls (until today, that is). This can to an extent be explained by the fact that their voters are rather devoted to their respective political leader, but more likely it has to do with their fierce refusal to admit to have done anything wrong, even though Janković failed to declare a small part of his real estate to the anti-corruption commission (as in: did not tell he owns the wood). Also, he was anything but quick on his feet to disclose his financial obligations, but in the end did just that.
His main opponent, however, got into a lot of hot water demanding everyone else discloses their accounts and property, but then dragged his feet doing so himself. In fact, just before yesterday’s debate on POP TV his party claimed that their scanner broke down. Now that SDS and scanners don’t mix was well demonstrated in the case of creative photocopying and sure enough it turned out that this time too not everything was fine and dandy with Janša’s documents. The whole thing was revolving around how the SDS leader bought, sold and managed his real estate and it turned out that the initial contract, where he sold his existing property and bought an elite apartment in Ljubljana is fishy, with the buyer (a construction company which won many government contracts including construction of defence ministry building during Janša’s days at the ministry) being overly generous to the point of making economically unsound decisions. Re
But today, Mladina weekly, which is conducting a tracking poll over the last week, detected a marked drop in SDS’ ratings, virtually unchanged result for Janković and a rise for Social Democrats. According to this Janković is trailing Janša by only 3,6 percent. And that means that a lot of people will have a nervous 44 hour-wait.
Looking at it from another point of view, a few permanent fixtures are on the brink of dropping out of the parliament. LDS and Zares are registering low single digit percentage points and their only saving grace can be the fact that with such low numbers the margin of error is relatively huge and that it is possible that their voters are simply not detected. We’ll know for sure come Sunday. But even if both parties drop out, this will not last. Just as with Christian Democratic NSi of Ljudmila Novak, which dropped out in 2008 and looks poised to make it back, the (social-) liberal option has its rightful place in the parliament and when the pendulum swings the other way, they will most likely make it back over the 4%. But they are trying very hard to prevent dropping out in the first place. Zares of Gregor Golobič is throwing everything it has into the field (literally, they’re running a grass-roots campaign) while LDS of Katarina Kresal is beating the human-rights drum, reminding people of the 2004-2008 Janša government.
Another point of view is the dichotomy between fluff and stuff. There were some platform points that stood out: emergency financial legislation, TEŠ 6, pension and labour market reforms, some notable successes of the outgoing government (Arbitration Agreement, rectifying the issue of the Erased, Family Code, although pending a decision of the constitutional court) and so on. On the other hand, this was probably one of the most vicious, brutal and personal campaigns in recent history. Families were dragged through the mud, wives were interviewed standing next to their husbands during a debate, names were called and ad hominem attacks were the norm, especially by rank-and-file members. As per usual, journalists (yours truly included) were not spared.
But perhaps the single most defining moment of this campaign was emergence of social media as an important tool in the campaign. For the first time campaign-related tweets were published in near real time during debates (on POP TV) and the inflation of politicians, their supporters and fake accounts generated to create the necessary buzz and hate speech was – well – admirable (in a perverse sort of way). Also, social media – Twitter in particular – offered a rare insight into the campaign mindset. 140 characters are just enough to get the message across without too much spin and one could see how some politicians who usually act normally (even though they might not agree with you) went positively bananas, denouncing everyone who didn’t dance to their tune. God forbid someone actually pointed out basic flaws in their politics. On the other hand some politicians embraced Twitter and are actually using it to broaden the scope of the immediate debate. Then, of course, are also those who block other users to keep a neat and embarrassment-free timeline.
At any rate, the run is over, pengovsky decided on his vote long before the campaign began and all that’s left to do is to go out and vote. Whoever wins will probably go belly-up (politically speaking)relatively soon as the clusterfuck this country and this continent are headed into is worse than anything this generation has ever seen. We’ll probably have another elections in 2014. Provided there will be anything left to vote on.
So, tune in tomorrow for a generous helping of Friday Foxies and expect exit poll results on Sunday, some time after 7 pm local.
N.B.: Graph data is compiled from different polls with different sets of questions and different samples, so it is not directly comparable from a scientific point of view. Data still available as .xls file for download.
P.S.: Commenting is closed for this one until Sunday evening, but you can still place trackbacks and pingbacks to this pots.