Trust poll shocks quarrelling government

The Austrian government has suffered heavily over the level of trust it enjoys, a new poll shows.Research firm Karmasin found that 67 per cent of Austrians have less trust now in the joint administration of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) than they had one year ago.The agency, which spoke to around 500 Austrians for the magazine profil, said 62 per cent of interviewed people were not putting as much trust in banks now as they did in the beginning of last year. The trust in the juridical system of Austria declined by 55 per cent as well, while 61 per cent said they were more dissatisfied with the service and performance of national broadcaster ORF.Only 11 per cent said the Federal Economy Chamber (WKO) suffered in reputation year on year, whereas 35 per cent told Karmasin they had a worse opinion of insurance agencies than one year ago.The past few months in the media were dominated by political bickering as the SPÖ-ÖVP coalition’s 2011 budget was criticised as uninspired and unfair by the opposition. The Greens and the Freedom Party (FPÖ) claimed the poorest will be hit hardest by the upcoming tax increases, while Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) boss Josef Bucher claimed the government “did almost everything wrong” in deciding on measures for next year.One of the most controversial reforms is the decision to stop paying out family subsidies when children turn 24 instead of 26. Students groups claimed this change increases the pressure on young people trying to make ends meet.Other disputed measures in the coalition’s bid to lower the soaring state debt are higher mineral oil taxation rates and a new “carbon dioxide tax” on flight tickets.Political analysts do not expect the coalition to break up early despite the intensifying war of words between SPÖ representatives and ÖVP officials since polls show the right-wing FPÖ would benefit most from a split.The next general elections are set to take place in 2013. A Karmasin poll showed recently that around one in four Austrians could imagine the FPÖ manages to become the strongest party in the foreseeable future. The party headed by Heinz-Christian Strache garnered 17.5 per cent to come third in the 2008 general ballot.OGM research showed in December that 20 per cent of Austrians aged under 30 want Strache as chancellor. Only 16 per cent favour ÖVP boss Josef Pröll, while 15 per cent prefer SPÖ Chancellor Werner Faymann.