electionista briefing - EU elections prediction, Russia to vote this year?, Scotland IndyRef polls compared, Poroshenko leads in Ukraine

electionista Briefing - 21 April 2014:

Today we are releasing our second prediction for the upcoming European Parliament elections:

EPP (European People’s Party): 212 seats(+8 from March), 28.2%
S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): 205(-1), 27.3%
ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats): 60(-12), 8%
GUE/NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): 56(-3), 7.5%
ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists): 43(-2), 5.7%
Greens/EFA (Greens/European Free Alliance): 42(=), 5.6%
EFD (Europe of Freedom and Democracy): 34(+3), 4.5%
NI/others (non-attached members): 99(+7), 13.1%

While the centre-left group S&D group has remained fundamentally stable EU-wide across the past month or so, the centre-right EPP now holds a slight lead in our prediction. This is primarily driven by a rise in support for parties on the right across most of the EU. For example, support for EPP parties has risen in both Austria and Poland. The liberal ALDE has seen a drop in projected seats that reflects both an unchanged situation in key countries, primarily Germany and the UK, and a consistent drop across member states such as Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Romania and Sweden.

In terms of the left, the Tsipras train has lost momentum both at home, in Greece, and where the brand is borrowed, Italy. Non-attached parties have seen a rise from early March - this is primarily driven by the Front National in France and the Five Star Movement in Italy. The two parties together are projected to win more than a 1/3 of the members’ 99 forecast seats.

Here’s a country-by-country snap analysis of where polls have shown notable changes since our last prediction (if a country isn’t mentioned, it reflects the fact the polling scenario hasn’t altered much):

Austria - ÖVP (EPP) has leap-frogged socialists SPÖ and right-wing FPÖ in top spot, toss up between liberals NEOS and Greens for fourth spot.

Belgium - 1.) Greens/EFA followed by 2.) S&D followed by 3.) ALDE parties, all of which are expected to win the lion’s share of seats, in fourth place the CD&V (EPP) and then others.

Bulgaria - centre-right GERB and the Bulgarian Socialist Party now neck-and-neck.

Czech Republic - liberals ANO now lead social democrats ČSSD, EPP parties (combined) ahead of communist party KSČM for the final place on the podium. ODS (ECR) to take one seat.

Denmark - Dansk Folkeparti ahead in several recent polls, and tied with ALDE parties (combined) to win the most seats. Social Democrats third.

Finland - ALDE vs EPP for top spot, EFD vs S&D for the last place on the podium.

Greece - left-wing SYRIZA has partly lost its momentum and is now neck-and-neck with centre-right ND. Far-right Golden Dawn is below 10%. The centre-left continues to struggle. The real story though is new party To Potami (see here and here for background) - above 10% a month and a half after launch.

Hungary - FIDESZ (EPP) will dominate the European Parliament elections too. Based on general election results, the race for second largest party could be close.

Ireland - EPP comfortably in the lead.

Italy - Significant changes. Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party is consistently polling well above 30%, on record highs. Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement has consolidated second spot and fundamentally remains in line with general election levels. Support for Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia has dropped, barely hitting 20%, but in terms of EPP seats this is partly covered by the New Centre-Right - Christian Democrat alliance, which brings the two parties above the 4% threshold. Support for the European Left’s Alexis Tsipras has gradually dropped over the past month and is now hovering just above the threshold to win seats. A new list supporting ALDE’s Guy Verhofstadt is, for now, below that threshold.

Lithuania - S&D and EFD for top spot, EPP and ALDE for bronze.

Netherlands - support for right-wing PVV, which was polling as the largest party a month ago, has dropped across polls since the recent local elections. A four-horse race - with VVD, D66 and CDA - is now on the cards. Liberal D66 has topped recent polls, and ALDE (D66 + VVD) is set to emerge as the largest group in terms of seats independently of which of the four parties comes first.

Poland - the ruling Civic Platform (EPP) is on the rise. PiS (ECR) has slowed down, S&D parties are a distant, and falling, third. Several polls have right-wing KNP winning a seat, but the trend is far from consistent across pollsters.

Portugal - the Socialist Party is now projected to win more seats than the governing EPP parties combined.

Romania - socialists PSD remain comfortably ahead, support for PNL (ALDE) has collapsed - the party has gone from battling with the EPP parties for second spot to a consolation third place.

In terms of larger countries - Germany, France, Spain and the UK - the overall bigger picture painted by polls over that past month has remained fundamentally unchanged since early March.

As a reminder, our projection is based on an average of polls by country adjusted by each country’s voting system and pollsters’ past performance. Our previous prediction and country-by-country snap analysis can be found here.

We will be releasing one final prediction in the week ahead of the May elections.

In other news:

Algeria presidential election - as expected, Abdelaziz Bouteflika won a fourth term with 81.53% (from 90.24% in 2009). The bigger story was though the fall in turnout: 51.7%, from 74.56% in 2009.

There are reports that Russia may hold parliamentary (Duma) elections this year, which would be two years ahead of schedule. The number of seats in the Russian parliament, the Duma, reflects the country’s regional composition. The annexation of Crimea alters this balance meaning constitutional changes may be required. Reports indicate that these constitutional changes may lead to an opportunity to call an early vote.

The rationale for such a move, according to these same sources, would be the rising support for both President Putin -
the president’s popularity in Levada polls has doubled to more than 60% over the past 12 months (the line in orange) - and of ruling party United Russia - at 56.4% in this month’s VTsIOM tracker, from 50% a month ago, and 49.32% in the 2011 election - on the back of recent events in Ukraine, which overshadows a decelerating economy that is set to deteriorate as 2016 nears.

A recent VTsIOM poll also showed that 71% of Russians are aware of the UN resolution on the illegality of the Crimea referendum and the international community’s stance on the issue, but only 2% believe the annexation was against international law. 59% believe there will be no consequences stemming from events in Crimea, 25% disagree with this assessment.

Meanwhile, Moldova’s breakaway pro-Russian region of Transnistria has asked President Putin to recognise its independence, and Latvia says Russia is surveying local opinion in Latgale, the only Latvian region to vote for Russian as a second language in 2012. Last Thursday, a deal to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine was reportedly reached, yet it remains unclear whether it will hold on the ground.

Ukraine - Petro Poroshenko remains favourite to win the presidential election in May - the latest Razumkov Centre poll:

Poroshenko 28%
Tymoshenko 13%
Tihipko 6%

Among decided votes (62.2% say they are certain of voting, 23.2% likely)
: Poroshenko 42%, Tymoshenko 19%, Tihipko 9%

Looking forward to a possible II round run-off, Poroshenko also leads in key regions - in the south: Poroshenko 27%, Tymoshenko 8%; in the east: Poroshenko 16%, Tymoshenko 6%

Two factors to keep in mind - while polls put him just short of 50%, Poroshenko may well win in I round, yet, and, secondly a II round runoff with Tihipko could likely be closer than a race against Tymoshenko, especially in the south and east of the country.

On Saturday, KIIS released a comprehensive poll of public opinion in south-eastern Ukraine. Here's an analysis of the figures.

In France, an OpinionWay poll for Le Figaro showed that President Hollande would be knocked out in the I round if presidential elections were held today: Sarkozy 29%, Le Pen 25% , Hollande 19% // II round: Sarkozy 67%, MLP 33%; Hollande 54%, MLP 46%; Sarkozy 61%, Hollande 39%

The world's most, and least, religiously diverse countries.

An interesting analysis of the recent elections in Hungary.

A YouGov poll has found that 20% in Britain know that the EU has 28 members and only 16% could name the date of the upcoming European Parliament elections. The tables showing a breakdown of countries which Britons think are EU members are particularly interesting.

Scotland: NO lead in independence referendum polls, change from previous:

TNS: 12(-2)
Panelbase: 5
Survation: 8(-2)
YouGov: 15(-3)
ICM: 3(-4)

An interesting read on the youth vote in the India Elections, which are currently underway.

Two PEW surveys released this week - one looked at who has the most unfavourable view of China, the other at global views on homosexuality.

Olivia Chow leads in Toronto, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, and in New Zealand, the National Party has its biggest lead in Morgan polls since July 2013 while Labour is on its lowest since April 2012.

Finally, the world visualised as 100 people.

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