Opposition campaigning for regional elections — lessons from Lower Austria: “People vote for people, not for posters”
Interviewee: Daniel Gieber
Author: Florian Peschl
Minus ten percentage points, no more absolute majority, no more sole dominance in Lower Austrian affairs: 29 January 2023 will go down as the day when the People’s Party (ÖVP) was dealt a historic blow in its stronghold. Losing over three percentage points, the Social Democrats (SPÖ) suffered the worst result in their history, too.
1.3 million people had been called to ballot, close to one million did. Turnout increased significantly, by almost five percentage points to 71.52 percent. According to a survey by SORA and the Academy of Science, federal policies played a central role for more than half. Inflation, energy and immigration were cited as weightiest issues.
Once again, the Freedom Party (FPÖ) emerged as the main profiteer. Winning over 24 percent of the vote, it had successfully picked up popular opposition to initially planned but eventually aborted compulsory vaccinations. In rural communities with low vaccination rates, conservatives had to accept particular heavy losses to the far-right.