About a fifth of voters are undecided about who they will vote for in the first round of next week’s presidential election. In contrast, 78 percent knew who they would choose among the nine applicants for Castle. One-third of determined voters have an alternate choice for the second round if their favorite does not advance in the first. This emerged from a December survey by the STEM/MARK Agency. Do TV ads and debates that actually start help voters make up their minds?
I laughed a little after reading the report because it was a graduation word problem.
Back to topic. Doubters will surely watch the pre-election debates. But there are two types of hesitation. One thing is that people want to vote and are hesitant about whom.
It would be interesting to talk to them about which candidates they decide on. Because if they decide who will participate in the debates, it will help them. But the question is, what is the point of such a discussion if they decide among those who do not want to participate in part?
Then there is the second question. That is, the question of voters who do not want to vote. This is still a relatively large percentage, and the question is whether these voters will get the idea from the debates to go to the polls. So we’ll see.
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But the debates are certainly meaningful, and some percentage of the vote will certainly play a role, and a big one at that. Because if you look at the current pre-election polls, all three candidates have practically the same chance of making it to the second round. In terms of statistical variation, the chances are practically equal.
The nature of campaigns has changed. Personal meetings and rallies with voters are no longer a priority, but campaigning is moving into the media space. How do you perceive the presentation of candidates on social networks?
It is interesting to look at it from a long perspective. On the one hand, there is Peter Powell, a candidate who has built his entire image on a vision of peace and order. It is the image of a candidate who can make decisions in times of uncertainty and a stabilizing element. It sounds very abstract, but if you think about his campaign, it’s easy to see.
He is remembered for his role during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. They recall his eloquence. They recall his ability to unify society.
Danus Nerutova finished second in fantasy space. First, it gives men in high positions a sense that they can change the current trend. Second, he is a remarkably young candidate, and that shows well in his campaign. He is very successful in social media environments like Instagram, TikTok and BeReal for younger people and he only uses them as a candidate. She wins.
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The third candidate, Andrej Babiš, is, in a way, a special communication trap. He has been in the social media environment for a very long time, his team has been very successful there, and his Facebook pages are many times bigger than other candidates’ pages.
But at the same time, Babis, so far with all his policy and political connections, has been very precisely targeting certain groups, which has earned him about 30 percent of the vote. But the intensity of the campaign makes him less likely to get anyone else.
So Babis tried to communicate with the new Andrej in the campaign, who was accommodating and understanding. But at the same time, if Papis does this, he will get back to 30 percent, but his team sees that he needs a little more.
It seems to me that his campaign was too long, even if it was disguised as a dialogue with citizens. But at the same time, Babiš’s campaign is very clueless in its targeting.
It will be very interesting to see the ex post analysis. For example, for political campaigns, Facebook makes available registration data that targets specific interests rather than targeting men and women. Let’s see how it has changed over time.
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What about the other contenders for the castle? We’ve mentioned the three most written about, but sometimes he feels it’s unfair that they’re the only ones being talked about.
Pavel Fischer still has a significant presence in the context of social networks. But other candidates are weaker in the networks’ eyes in terms of presence, fans and more. It’s hard to talk about what strategies work or don’t work with them when the differences between them are so quantitative.
Andrej 2.0 and everyone else’s mistakes
To what extent are individual candidates able to respond to critical voices or issues raised during the election campaign?
Again and again I have to say that this is a surprise to me in the Czech Republic. I have a feeling that the discipline of critical communication has not been fully mastered in Czech politics. And that’s not in any team.
If we take the significant negative moments that appeared in the campaigns, Andrzej Babis has some of them. At the moment, it is mainly the upcoming decisions of the court regarding grants for Čapí hnízdo, but there are many more. In Peter Pauley’s case, it connects to pre-November military intelligence. And with Danuša Nerudová, it’s a case of so-called sold titles.
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When those cases come, candidates cannot react immediately. And they act in a way that creates hilarious videos that go viral – in Andrej Babis’ case.
This is significant because teams should know it’s coming. Nevertheless, their reaction was at least uncomfortable, and sometimes harmful in the sense of media interaction. For Dhanusa Nerudova, who at one point refused to speak to seven media outlets, it was a mistake. I think it has to do with the Czech culture of not admitting one’s mistakes.
We’ve seen teams in action and found that admitting a mistake can be the best strategy at some point. Rather than looking like a man who owns the whole yard.
Will Andrzej Papish lose out if he doesn’t participate in the pre-election debates?
This question is being talked about on social media. I think purely pragmatically that would be a minus for him.
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The problem is that the marketing communication around Andrej Babiš is set in the new Andrej – understanding, politician-like, even if he cannot forgive himself for too sharp an expression against anyone who is against him. Above all, a change must be seen.
But you have to show people the new Andrej. The decision not to go into further discussions probably took place in the midst of Andrzej Babis’ perpetual defense, because the Sparrow’s Nest case, the Pandora Papers case, his criminal case, etc. would follow. It keeps coming back.
It was already clear at the end of the parliamentary election campaign that this damaged the papacy. So he deserved it, he shouldn’t have been in these parts. But at the same time, it doesn’t give him room to be the new Andrej.
Decide not to go into discussions and be like Milos Zeman 2.0? Andrej Babiš is not Zeman 2.0. I think this was one of his team’s biggest strategic mistakes.
Listen to the full interview, the audio is above the article.
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