The latest political party polling conducted by SKDS on behalf of Latvian Television doesn’t show any major swings in support for parties but does suggest a few emerging trends that will keep politicians on their toes with just a year until the next Saeima elections. Chief among these trends is a hint that people are becoming a bit more politically active.
As usual, the most popular single party in September was still the opposition Saskaņa (Harmony) party, despite shedding 0.6 percentage points compared to August.
Another Saeima opposition party, the Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS), holds onto second place with growing support at 8.3%.
Third place was won by the New Unity party of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, for which 8.2% of voters would be ready to vote in September. Both ZZS and New Unity saw increases in popularity – the support of ZZS has increased by one percentage point, but for “New Unity” by one and a half.
Next in the party list come coalition parties the National Alliance (NA) on 6.9% and Development/For! (A/P) on 4.8% followed by the relatively new Law and Order (LuK) party of populist politician Aldis Gobzems with 3.7%.
Close behind are the Progressives (3.5%), Latvia’s Regional Alliance (3.1%), New Conservative Party (2.9%), and another populist newcomer, the Latvia First Place party of Ainars Šlesers (2.9%).
Rounding out the list are the Latvian Russian Union (2.6%) and the last remains of the once-powerful KPV LV (0.4%) with other smaller parties contributing a further 0.7%.
The large number of parties around the 3%-4% support level suggests that many of them have a good chance of winning seats in parliament if they can build support during coming months.
There is a 5% threshold (of votes cast rather than of the total electorate) to win seats in Saeima, and applying that to the preferences of voters in the poll suggests that if elections were held today, eight parties would win seats with a couple more narrowly missing out.
For the third month in a row, the number of voters who have indicated that they will not vote has declined, suggesting they may be becoming more politically engaged. It was 22.3% in July, 20% in August and 18.6% in September. Nevertheless the figure remains quite high and political scientists told LTV they expected the turnout to the 14th Saeima elections to be about the same as at the 13th Saeima elections, around 54% to 55%.
The number of voters saying they remain undecided is still substantial at 21.3%, though this too is down from 23.1% in August.