Latest opinion polling from Austria shows the centre-right People's Party (OVP), which governs in coalition with the environmentalist Greens, hitting its lowest level of support since March 2017 as public concerns mount regarding rising inflationary pressures and the potential for an energy supply crunch this winter.
- Legislative election poll: Social Democrats (SPÖ): 31% (+2), Freedom Party (FPÖ): 23% (+1), ÖVP: 20% (-1), Neos: 11% (-1), Greens: 9% (-1), People Freedom Fundamental Rights (MFG): 4% (+1). Market-Lazarsfeld, 20/07/22, chgs w/11-13 Jul.
- Earlier in July, the opposition right-wing Freedom Party demanded National Security Council meetings take place regarding Austria's gas reserves, which sit well below target levels for the start of the heating season in the autumn. Euractiv reported reserves stood at around 45%, compared to a summer target of 80%.
- With 80% of Austrian gas coming from Russia, there are significant concerns about energy supplies come winter given the low flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany in recent weeks.
- The concerns about supply have seen the gov't delay its exit from coal power production in June, and spend an additional EUR6.6bn on securing additional gas supplies. Both of these policies have exposed strains in the OVP-Green governing coalition, already weakened in 2021 by the political scandal that saw Chancellor Sebastian Kurz forced from office.
- Silver lining for the Austrian gov't is that the next election is not due until 2024 at the latest, providing time for a turnaround in the country's economic fortunes before voters decide on Chancellor Karl Nehammer's party's fate.