Four months ahead of general elections, two private agencies independently confirmed that Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar's government continues to trail the opposition in polls, but his HZDS party still preserves a thin margin over the strongest oppostition bloc, the SDK.
A poll conducted by the Názory agency among a representative sample of 1,402 respondents between May 4 and May 14 revealed the Mečiar government enjoys 31% support versus 52% for the combined opposition. The government narrowed the gap from a similar poll in April when combined opposition support was put at 62% while the government's was at 32%.
The poll was published in May, one day after Parliament approved changes to the electoral law which will hinder the opposition in the September elections. Mečiar's HZDS was the most popular single party with 21%, two percentage points ahead of the SDK.
Mečiar's two coalition partners had mixed fortunes. The ultra right Slovak National Party (SNS) had 8% support while the ultra left Association of Slovak Workers (ZRS) failed to cross the 5% threshold necessary for Parliamentary representation, taking just 2%.
Among the smaller anti-Mečiar parties, the Party of Civic Understanding (SOP) and the reformed communist Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ) got 13% each and the Party of Hungarian Coalition (SMK) got 7%.
The next day, a poll by another private polling agency put the Mečiar government's support at 33% while the combined opposition recorded 60%. The Focus survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,082 respondents between May 5 and May 13.
Like the Názory survey, Focus also confirmed Mečiar's HZDS position as the most popular single party with 24%, one point ahead of the SDK. The results of the poll were almost identical to a similar survey in April.
Unlike Názory, though, Focus found out that two minor opposition parties, the SOP and SMK, would perform better by four and three percentage points, respectively. Focus put the SOP at 17% of the overall vote, while the SMK recorded 10%. On the other hand, Focus reported that the SDĽ would attract only 10% of the overall vote.
Among Mečiar's coalition government partners, the SNS recorded a 6% support while the ZRS was confirmed in its hopeless position, taking just 3%.
|Focus agency||Názory agency|
4. Jun 1998 at 0:00 | Reuters