“The iron electorate will not believe it anyway, and the cynical electorate is not surprised, because they do not expect anything better from PiS”
Photo: Artur Reszko/PAP
The dispute over a joint list and the lack of female leaders frustrate and discourage opposition supporters from voting – this is the picture that emerges from the report “Voters for one list, leaders against”. Research conducted by sociologists Sławomir Sierakowski and Przemysław Sadura also shows that the willingness to participate in the autumn parliamentary elections is most strongly determined by the attitude towards Law and Justice. “We don’t have parties in Poland today, we have two sub-societies,” write the authors.
The report “Voters for one list, leaders against” was created at the Institute of Political Critique based on a survey conducted by the Ipsos agency in December 2022. The telephone survey was carried out on a nationwide representative sample of adult Poles N=1004. An N=100 booster was also implemented with people who currently do not intend to vote, but who participated in elections in the past. We are talking to one of the authors of the study – Sławomir Sierakowski, sociologist, head of “Krytyka Polityczna”.
In the report “Voters for one list, leaders against” you write that PiS is the party that has the most “exclusive” electorate today. What does it mean?
We write about exclusivity, because today there is no other political party in Poland than PiS, which has such a loyal, attached and believing in the success of its party electorate. This Law and Justice party is also exclusive because it excludes voting for other entities. The opposition may forget that they will steal someone from PiS. PiS can only defeat PiS by reaching deeper into the reservoir of opposition voters, i.e. by making them go to the polls in greater numbers than PiS voters. They get the message from PiS and they are satisfied with this message, we can observe emotions such as pride, satisfaction and optimism. PiS voters are convinced of the generally good direction the country is heading in under their party’s rule.
But it is not a homogeneous electorate, you divide it into two separate groups. Will this division play an important role in the upcoming elections?
We distinguish between the fanatical and the cynical group. The fanatical electorate has always stood by the party and will continue to stand against all odds. The cynical group, on the other hand, is the former opposition electorate, which has gone over to the PiS side, while retaining all critical opinions and full awareness of what it is. Law and Justice. This is an electorate that calculates and votes conditionally, formed after 2015; 500 plus for him it meant that you could, for example, go on holiday with your children for the first time. For this group, giving up the package of social transfers in the name of fighting for Constitutional Court it’s too much of a sacrifice. Therefore, when we say “cynical voters”, we are not condemning them at all. We use this concept after Peter Sloterdijk, the author of the book “Criticism of Cynic Reason”.
Is this an electorate strategically more important for PiS?
It was the 10-15% group of cynical voters that actually gave PiS power. The rulers have learned to effectively communicate with this electorate and constantly provide them with fuel in the form of financial arguments to make them stay with the party. The entire state policy is focused on this group, cynical voters feel noticed and taken care of, because they get numerous bonuses, such as 500 plus, thirteenth and fourteenth pension. In addition, there are also those professional groups for which PiS spares no money, such as the uniformed services.
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