IN SHORT

Smer's popularity slips below 40 percent

THE POPULARITY of the ruling Smer party has fallen below 40 percent, an early September survey showed.

A total of 39.1 percent of respondents said they would vote for Smer, which is a 3.7 percentage-point drop from August, the SITA newswire wrote.

"Until now, Smer's politics only consisted of words that did not actually affect anybody," political scientist Samuel Abrahám told the Pravda daily. "This is the reason why its popularity was growing."

Smer's actions, like its stance on pension fund management companies, have touched a certain group of people, and this has been mirrored in the falling numbers, he said.

Abrahám predicts that from now on, Smer's popularity will decrease no matter what it does.

The Slovak National Party (SNS) is the second most popular party in Slovakia, enjoying the support of 13.1 percent of respondents (up 0.2 percentage points from last month), followed by the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) with 12.3 percent (up 1.6 percentage points).

The opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) remains the strongest opposition party, with 12.2 percent (up 2.2 percentage points from last month). They were followed by the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) with 9.6 percent, up 0.8 percentage points, the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) with 9.5 percent, a drop of 0.5 percentage points.

The polling institute of the Slovak Statistics Office (ÚVVM) conducted the survey from September 1 to 10. The institute interviewed 1,117 respondents.

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