What felt like an unnecessarily long campaign to elect the next president of Muddy Hollows finally ends today. Having gone through a metric fuckton of TV, radio and newspaper debates, Nataša Pirc Musar seems to hold a slight edge over Anže Logar.
However, depending on which pollster you look at, her lead is either stable or melting fast. So, it could well happen that Slovenia will get its first female president. But to use an old campaign truism, turnout will be the key.
After the results of the first round came in, pengovsky noted that NPM has a built-in advantage in the second round. Mostly because on the whole, the electorate in Muddy Hollows breaks slightly more left-liberal. But also because the rejection rate of anything (or, in this case, anyone) in the SDS orbit is phenomenal.
If Nataša Pirc Musar wins this election (and chances are she will), it will be the anti-Logar/Janša vote that will have put her over the top. However, for that to happen, she needs her voters to come out and actually, you know, vote. This should not be taken for granted. Especially since a low turnout is probably the only way Logar can eke out a win.
(Agreed, it is kind of lame for pengovsky to be saying this, like, 36 hours before the polls open, but fuck it. Nobody pays me to write this drivel. Unless you’ve supported me on ko-fi. In which case, you’re the best and I love you! Also, it is not like I haven’t said this before.)
The 2022 presidential campaign was, for the lack of a better word, milquetoast. Both camps were visibly strapped for cash, there was no “wow!” moment that would make any of the campaigns stand out, and the candidates leaned heavily into the debates as primary tools for making their case.
No Bannon moment
Which had the unintended effect of making the debates boring as fuck, about two weeks in. I mean, how many ways are there for a candidate to explain their take on presidential powers? This goes double for the second round, even though the head-to-head contests gave a slightly more nuanced picture of Pirc Musar and Logar. Mostly because the two remaining candidates had more time to themselves as opposed to having to compete for minutes with six other also-rans.
That said, however, the second round offered very little that was new. Perhaps most tellingly, Pirc Musar finally managed to find her footing. Se did a much better job at answering questions about her legal practice, her wealth and her husband’s business.
Amazingly, this remained the single line of attack against her. Pengovsky assumed that after the first round the competition would try to undermine her, Steve Bannon style. That is to say, attack her record on privacy protection and rule of law, points where she is strongest. But it was all crickets on that front. This gave NPM ample room to advertise those same points of her record and she did it with gusto.
Staying on message
Anže Logar, on the other hand, gave a master-class in staying on message throughout the campaign. Though staying on message is much easier if your entire shtick is “it wasn’t me, I had nothing to with is and I don’t know these clowns anyway”.
Logar, foreign minister in Janša’s last government, and his director of communications twice before, assumed – correctly, in all likelihood – that he has most of his voters from the first round locked in, no matter what.
This is known in Muddy Hollows as “the loyal SDS voter” phenomenon. These people will turn out in droves to support their candidate, no matter what. We are talking “in bed with a dead girl or a live boy” levels here. As a result, Logar could risk softening his image even more in an attempt to capture some of the moderate undecided vote.
The problem was that by the end of the race, cracks in his armour started appearing. Be it due to exhaustion or lack of anything new to say, the cynical, patronising Anže Logar we’ve all come to know (if not necessarily love), started peering trough. Perhaps this reminded a few people that he really was just putting on one hell of a show.
The final polls put Nataša Pirc Musar around 53 and Anže Logar at 47 percent. Or thereabout. Seeing as one particular pollster had NPM at 62 percent as little as five days ago, some Logar supporters are seeing this as The Sign. Their hope may not be completely unfounded, but it is still just that. Hope.
The thing is that the second round was not exactly a polling bonanza and a single poll could simply be an outlier. Or a systemic fuck-up with the polling sample. Who knows.
If pengovsky were a betting man, he would wager that NPM will slightly outperform latest polls and take it home with 55%. And for what it is worth, Politico’s poll of polls has NPM and Logar at 54 and 46 percent respectively.
But pengovsky is not a betting man and Sunday evening may still turn out to be anything but a snooze-fest.