Wieruszów, a town in central Poland, became an electoral laboratory at the weekend, holding a mock primary election one week before the “real thing”.
The town of Wieruszów was the site for a “primary” election held on Sunday. Voters who are registered on the electoral roll in the town could come and vote at 12 polling stations provided by the local authority.
Wieruszów is one of the locations in Poland regarded as being demographically representative of the Polish electorate. In past elections its results were always close to the actual national result.
This Sunday, 13 percent (around 2,000 voters) actually turned out in the primary poll to vote for the parties that they will be choosing from for the actual general election on Sunday October 13. The results turned out to be much in line with the nationwide opinion polls.
The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) won taking 46.5 percent of the vote. Second, came the Civic Coalition (KO) with 23.5 percent. Third were the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) who polled 13.1 percent.
Two more parties crossed the five percent threshold required for obtaining parliamentary representation. The Polish Coalition led by the Polish People’s Party (PSL) polled 7.9 percent and the radical right Confederation managed seven percent.
Comparison to national polls
The result of this primary was remarkably consistent with national polls. In the countrywide surveys, PiS is scoring between 42 and 49.5 percent. The KO is getting between 23 and 30 percent and the SLD 11-14 percent. The PSL have been getting between four and eight percent and Confederation three to seven percent.
The low turnout may have helped the smaller parties poll at the top of their range. Both PiS and the KO will hope for slightly better figures on polling day when that turnout is likely to be considerably higher.
The primary provides a good opportunity for a place like Wieruszów to promote itself as the national media attend. But the fact that the parties concentrate their efforts on the town means that voters get more exposure to the election campaign then they will get in most other places.
Most psephologists believe that nationwide polling is a more reliable indicator. But in the case of this general election both the mock primary and the polls are saying exactly the same.