Poor support for SPÖ-ÖVP after budget revelations

Fewer than one out of four Austrians are satisfied with the government’s work, according to a poll.Researchers Karmasin found that just 22 per cent are pleased by the performance of the coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP) which took office in December 2008.Sixteen per cent said they were in favour of cooperation between SPÖ and the Greens. It would be the first time the Social Democrats and the Greens team up on provincial or federal level in Austria. The parties’ Viennese departments are currently negotiating a possible coalition in the city parliament after both parties suffered losses in the 10 October Vienna city ballot.Karmasin also found that 12 per cent of Austrians would support another federal coalition between the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the ÖVP. The two parties controversially cooperated between 2000 and 2007. Their agreement came after then ÖVP chief Wolfgang Schüssel made it clear ahead of the election that his party would go into opposition if it came third. The FPÖ-ÖVP coalition angered many international observers and the European Union (EU).The Karmasin study, which is published in today’s (Mon) profil magazine, comes shortly after SPÖ and ÖVP announced plans to cut family subsidies next year in a bid to reduce the soaring state debt. The government also announced a string of tax increases like higher taxation rates on tobacco and car fuel. More than seven in 10 Austrians consider the 2011 state budget as unfair, according to pollsters OGM.SPÖ and ÖVP would suffer losses if elections were to take place this Sunday, according to most researchers, while the FPÖ would manage to improve from the 17.5 per cent it garnered in September 2008.The announcement of the annual budget has been identified as the main reason for the declining popularity of the government. The SPÖ (general election 2008: 29.3 per cent) had the support of 34 per cent in a Karmasin poll in July, while the ÖVP (general election 2008: 26 per cent) would have been backed by 33 per cent in general elections at that time. The FPÖ had the support of 19 per cent in July, ahead of the Greens (11 per cent) and the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) with just two per cent.The FP֒s predicted improvement in upcoming elections has also been linked with the big parties’ failures to admit failures in handling immigration issues. The rightist party also managed to win the support of those hit by the credit crunch and disadvantaged by upcoming budget cuts.Support of its leader Heinz-Christian Strache in a possible direct vote of the chancellor, however, ranges around just seven per cent, while SPÖ Chancellor Werner Faymann would garner 26 per cent. ÖVP chief Josef Pröll could be sure of the backing of 23 per cent. Only six per cent could imagine backing Greens boss Eva Glawischnig in such an election.According to the survey Strache would not do any better in a Vienna mayoral election with support of 10 per cent, although his party improved by almost 11 per cent to claim 25.8 per cent in the recent Vienna city parliament ballot.The next general election is due in 2013, and SPÖ and ÖVP are expected to try everything to avoid an early ending of their cooperation over fears that they would both suffer significant losses in favour of the populist FPÖ.