The results of a university survey give new nourishment to concerns about low voter turnout.
It is an appeal across all parties and opposing views: the three mayoral candidates wolfgang grader (GAL), gerhard seitz (CSU/BBB) and andreas starke (SPD) sound the alarm. "Our city needs the active participation of the citizenry. Only those who vote decide", it says in a joint election appeal submitted by all applicants on 29. February was signed. It is to be paid on 9. March to be published in the rathausjournal.
According to the city, there has never been a comparable call from three political competitors in bamberg before. It reflects the concern that many citizens, under the impression that everything had already been decided, would vote on 11. Marz could not go to the polls – even though the top office in bamberg is at stake, on which much depends, and even though on this day, uniquely in bamberg’s recent history, a decision will be made about eight years. The mayor, who started the initiative, is also worried that he will not be able to mobilize the voters and, of course, his supporters sufficiently:" the higher the voter turnout, the better the legitimacy of a mayor."
The turnout in the last elections for mayor of bamberg was not a glorious sign of the democratic spirit of the people of bamberg. In the runoff election on 20. March 1994 it was still at 62 percent. At that time, herbert lauer (freie wahler) and andreas stark had made it to the final round. On 26. March 2006, when the citizens decided between andreas starke and peter neller (CSU), only 44 percent made use of their right to vote. A downright crash.
That new lows cannot be ruled out on sunday in a week’s time is also suggested by a representative survey conducted by the baces opinion research institute at otto friedrich university. "In bamberg, many feel that the election has already been decided", says zoltan juhasz, head of the institute. As the pollsters found out, of 538 burgers surveyed, only a minority of 37 percent believe the election results on 11. March is open. Even among CSU supporters, only 41 percent are convinced that there could be surprises.
The situation was similar when asked about the likelihood of a runoff election. Only 24 percent think this could happen. 66 percent expect election to be decided in first round. The situation is completely different in hof and bayreuth, where the mayor will also be elected. There, too, baces surveyed voters, but encountered a much more polarized mood than in bamberg. There, the CSU incumbents face serious competition.
The data of the survey in bamberg were collected in the period from 13. January to 10. February and on 26. February published. Juhasz assumes that the basic statements have not changed significantly in the last four weeks. The sociologist attributes this primarily to the lack of a mood of change in bamberg. "Our figures show that the incumbent mayor is very popular not only with the SPD supporters, but also with the csulers." on a scale ranging from minus five to plus five, stark scored 3.2, the best result, and was also rated better by CSU supporters (3.1) than his competitor gerhard seitz. He received a grade of 1.2 from all respondents, and an even 2 from CSU supporters.
In this scale, wolfgang grader also scores better than gerhard seitz. Grader received an overall grade of 1.7; GAL supporters gave him a 2.5. The CSU does not fare much better when it comes to party ratings. Here, the christian socialists get 1.2 points, while the SPD gets 2.5 and the GAL 1.9.
A similar picture emerges with regard to the competencies that the voters attribute to the candidates. Here, too, andreas stark dominates in almost all ratings – starting with the level of support within his own party and ending with his closeness to the burghers and his leadership strength. In the middle field moves the green candidate, who exceeds strong at least with the credibility. For gerhard seitz, this scale usually leaves him in a thankless third place.
Seitz wants to keep fighting
but the CSU candidate is not discouraged by the results of the university poll: "these figures are four weeks old and i want to win elections, not a poll", says seitz. In the last few weeks, he feels that he has come closer to his goal of winning the runoff election. For example, he was more successful in mobilizing his own party members and making his goals clear.
Wolfgang grader agrees with the results of the survey: "i am pleased that the green voters are behind me. I also see my high score in credibility as a success." grader won’t let starke’s dominance stand, he’s fighting for the runoff: "let’s wait and see. There is still a lot in the river."
Andreas stark also warns against considering the election already decided: "votes are not yet votes", says the office holder, who hopes to see his sympathizers on the 11. March in sufficient numbers to bring to the polls. He was pleased with his popularity with the CSU electorate: "I also see this as the result of my non-partisan leadership. I have always tried to resolve factual issues free of partisan politics."