Many Austrian voters still undecided ahead of election: poll

More than a quarter of Austrian voters may still be undecided ahead of the Oct. 15 election, according to one poll, although a separate survey suggested that Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party maintains a robust lead.

Twenty-seven percent of voters were undecided, according data from a Research Affairs online poll of 600 people released late Saturday by tabloid newspaper Oesterreich.

Another poll published on Sunday by the Kurier newspaper showed 33 percent of voters backed Kurz’s conservative party, with current Chancellor Christian Kern’s left-leaning Social Democrats running second at 27 percent.

The rightist Freedom Party was third, according to the Kurier poll, with 25 percent.

Last week the Social Democrats’ chairman resigned after the party was linked to two Facebook accounts that made unsubstantiated allegations against Kurz and the controversy is likely boost voter turnout, said Wolfgang Bachmayer, whose OGM research service conducted the survey for Kurier.

His poll suggests 79 percent of eligible voters will cast their ballots.

“Issues of substance have been completely overshadowed, with mud-slinging instead moving into the spotlight,” Bachmayer said . “On the brighter side of things, there are clear indications that participation will rise.”

Austria’s co-governing Social Democrats and conservative People’s Party said on Friday they would sue each other in the escalating scandal.

The Kurier poll was conducted between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5 and included 1,002 telephone interviews, with 470 people identifying themselves as voters “certain” to cast ballots on Oct. 15.

Oesterreich’s online survey, gathered from last Monday to Wednesday, had a relatively small sample size of 600 people, with a wide margin of error.

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