First Public Opinion Poll of 2018: ”Nobody” Remains Most Positive Politician, Plenković Most Negative

Lauren Simmonds

Mr. Nobody has taken top spot once again as the most popular politician in Croatia.

Many people smirked to themselves last year when a public opinion poll revealed that ”Mr. Nobody” was the most popular political figure in the Republic of Croatia. When not one actual name from a wide array of potential candidates in the country took first place, the results of the poll produced a very dire picture of the general view of the Croatian domestic political scene which managed to induce laughter in some, and depression in others. 

As RTL writes on the 7th of January, 2018, Prime Minister Plenkovic, who isn’t a stranger to irritating people with his now somewhat infamous behaviour, ended up with 20.7 percent (21.5 percent a month earlier) concerningly ranked at the very top of the negative side of Croatian politicians. Not really the best title for the leader of the nation, but in all fairness to Plenky, second place in the negative list was shared by ”all politicians”. Brilliant.

The results of the 2018’s very first poll on social and political preferences, undertaken by CRO Demoskop at the very beginning of 2018’s maiden month, shows the results of recent events on the national political scene in the eyes of the general public (increasingly strained relations with neighbouring Slovenia regarding the arbitration decision, events in and around the Agrokor crisis, political conflicts between the two leading parties in the country, and the list goes on).

If parliamentary elections were conducted in early January (with the whole of Croatia as one electoral unit with a voter turnout of 53-59%), HDZ would still be the relative winner of the election.

When it comes to the ranking of political party preference, HDZ classically takes first place with 29 percent (as opposed to 30.8 percent in December last year). In the last four months, HDZ has “lost” 4.5 percentage points of electoral support (at the beginning of October last year, HDZ recorded 33.5 percent of electoral support).

On the other hand, in this year’s first poll, SDP has 20.6 percent. When compared to October’s results, this party recorded a weaker score of 1.5 percentage points.

In third place sits Živi Zid with 11.4 percent (up from 11 percent in December 2017, 6.6 percent in October of the same year).

HDZ’s former coalition partner MOST takes fourth place, now with 7 percent (7.5 percent one month ago).

HSS is in fifth place with electoral support of 3.2 percent (3.5 percent one month ago).

Stranka rada i soldiarnost (Labour and Solidarity Party) took sixth place with 2.3 percent (a rise from 2.1 percent back in December).

Four parties are supported with over one percent: Neovisni za Hrvatsku (Independent for Croatia) with 1.6 percent, HNS with 1.4 percent, followed by IDS and Pametno both at 1.2 percent.

Five parties enjoy (not sure that’s the right word, actually) less than 1 percent: Glas has 0.9 percent, HSU has 0.9 percent, HSP AS has 0.9 percent, HDSSB has 0.7 percent and HSLS has 0.5 percent.

Other parties recorded a collective 2.6 percent. A jump in undecided voters has also been recorded when compared with last year’s 11.9 percent to the current 14.6 percent. From the experience of research in several previous mandates of various Croatian governments, the increase in the share of undecided voters marks a fracture in the mandate, meaning that it will be interesting to follow the level of these undecided voters who can ultimately end up having the power to decide on the election winner.

At the top of the chart of positive experiences incurred by Croatia’s colourful array of domestic politicians, “Nitko” (Nobody) takes first place for the fifth month in a row.

The second is President Grabar Kitarović, who is seen as the most positive domestic political figure by 18.4 percent of Croatian citizens (a month ago she enjoyed 20.6 percent). Prime Minister Plenkovic remained in third place with 11.3 percent of the vote. Zivi Zid’s famously outspoken Ivan Pernar took 5.0 percent of the vote (down from 6.5 percent back in December). SDP’s Davor Bernardić enjoys 4.5 percent of the vote (up from 2.7 percent in December) followed by Anka Mrak Taritaš with 4.3 percent of the vote (down from 5.2 percent in December). Among the top ten most popular domestic politicians are MOST’s Božo Petrov (3.7 percent), Živi zid’s Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (2.6 percent), MEP Tonino Picula (2.0 percent), and Ministers Damir Krstičević and Zdravko Marić (1.9 percent).

As previously mentioned, Prime Minister Plenkovic, with 20.7 percent (21.5 percent a month earlier) ranked top of the negative side of Croatian politicians.

Second place is rather amusingly shared by “all politicians” as a separate response category with 13.3 percent (12.9 percent a month ago). Third place is taken by Davor Bernardić with 8.3 percent (the same level of election as the previous month) followed by Milorad Pupovac with 6.7 percent (6.3 percent a month ago). Former Cultuer Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović finds himself in fifth place with 6.6 percent of the vote (down from 7.4 percent a month ago). Sixth place is enjoyed by Ivan Pernar with 4.8 percent (down from 4.6 percent in December). Tomislav Karamarko enjoys 3.6 percent, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, 2.8 percent, Zoran Milanović, 2.6 percent, and Ivan Vrdoljak, 2.4 percent, are among the top ten most unpopular domestic politicians according to the poll.

The current direction of the country’s political ”movement” is supported by 20.9 percent of citizens compared to 18.3 percent in December 2017. In this month’s survey, 67.3 percent of respondents believe that Croatia is heading in the wrong direction compared to 74 percent in December. 11.8 percent remain unsure of their feelings on the country’s political path. The highest share of social optimists is recorded among HDZ voters, at 60 percent (in December, 56.1 percent), while among HNS voters this share is considerably lower, at just 16.7 percent.

The government’s support level in the 14th month of its mandate is 34.6 percent (compared to 33.6 percent in the previous poll taken back in December last year). When it comes to government policy support, 49.0 percent has been recorded this month (down significantly from 49.8 percent in December).

The President of the Republic of Croatia received a 3.18 in this specific respect (compared with 3.21 at the beginning of December 2017). The Croatian Parliament recorded a score of 1.98 in this poll (up slightly from December’s recorded 1.95).

The most important and swaying factor were tensions with Slovenia regarding the increasingly uncomfortable arbitration decision, 29.9 percent of Croatian citizens agreed. Agrokor and the events surrounding it are now in second place with 21.3 percent.

Another topic recorded more than 10 percent: The situation surrounding the late Slobodan Praljak (10.3 percent). In addition, three more topics gained more than five percent: The long-term social crisis in the country (5.9 percent), Christmas celebrations and Advent events in Croatian cities (5.4 percent), and the increase in minimum wage (5.2 percent).

Four events were marked by a vote of more than three percent: The adoption of a new Law on Defenders (4.0 percent), President Kitarović’s criticism of the Hague Tribunal in the UN Security Council (3.4 percent), Ivan Vrdoljak’s return to his position as the head of the HNS, 3 percent). All other events were, according to the results of the newest poll, below 3 percent.


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