Popularity of Poland’s governing conservatives has stalled ahead of this year’s election

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party should be worried that despite announcing new benefits and defending Pope John Paul II, their poll ratings have stagnated with just four months left until the election.

An analysis of current trends in the opinion polls is unfavorable for the ruling conservatives. The party’s election campaign officials have staked too much on the defense of John Paul II’s name in the aftermath of a controversial film alleging the Polish pope knew about the sexual abuse of minors in the Church and failed to act. There is no evidence in the polls that this stance helped the ruling party.

Equally, the announcement that child benefits would rise by 60 percent next year has failed to shift the dial. It has not been a game changer in the polls, with the ruling party’s poll ratings, according to Politico Europe’s Poll of Polls, stuck in the 35-37 percent range, a result unlikely to give it a majority in autumn’s general election. 

The ruling party should quickly realize that since social transfers and social conservatism are not the vote winners they once were, there is a need for a reset. It should take greater care in its communication, as the quality of messaging may decide the outcome of the election.

It is surprising that the party has chosen the highly confrontational move of setting up the commission on Russian influence. While the reason is to firm up the core vote and maintain polarization between the party and Donald Tusk’s liberal Civic Platform (PO), while squeezing the smaller parties out of the picture, the problem is that the core vote does not seem to be enough to get the ruling party over the line. 

Despite the effort to present the electoral battle as being between the conservatives and the liberals, other political forces have made headway on the political stage. The radical right-wing Confederation and the new electoral coalition of the Polish People’s Party and the liberal “Poland 2050” party led by former presidential candidate Szymon Hołownia have seen their ratings rise. Just concentrating on Donald Tusk does not seem to be enough. 

The ruling party is beginning to make similar mistakes to those that cost the previous liberal administration. They seem to believe that their record in office and the unpopularity of the opposition will automatically win them power.

The ruling party may have just days left to adjust its narrative and positioning. The opposition has for years been hoping for some event that will prove a turning point. It never came. But, it may be closer than at any point since 2015. 

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