Majority support actions of new Polish government, finds poll, while support for opposition PiS declines

A majority of the public hold a positive view of the actions of Donald Tusk’s government during its first month in power, a poll has found.

It comes following a number of other polls indicating growing support for Tusk’s centrist Civic Coalition (KO) group and falling support for the national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS), the former ruling party that is now in opposition.

In a poll commissioned by Rzeczpospolita, a leading daily newspaper, and conducted on Friday and Saturday last week, the IBRiS agency asked Poles how they evaluate the actions of Tusk’s ruling coalition since it formed a government on 13 December.

A majority of 56.3% expressed a positive opinion, including 28.6% who said they felt very positive and 27.7% who felt quite positive. By contrast, 36.9% expressed a negative view, including 24.4% who felt very negatively and 12.5% quite negatively. The remaining 6.8% said they were unsure.

The poll also showed how divided Poles are along partisan lines. Among those who said they voted for PiS or the far-right Confederation (Konfederacja) party, 0% expressed a positive view of Tusk’s government.

Poland’s former ruling party has held a large anti-government protest in Warsaw.

„We are defending Poland against the return of German imperialism” and a „European plan to liquidate our homeland as a state”, declared PiS chairman Jarosław Kaczyński

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) January 11, 2024

Meanwhile, regular polling by a variety of agencies asking Poles which party they would vote for in elections also appears to indicate growing support for Tusk’s group.

The E-wybory website, which collates and presents averages from such polls, shows that over the last 30 days, support for KO group is up 2.8 percentage points to 31.2% while support for the national-conservative PiS is down -0.3 p.p. to 33.5%.

However, KO’s two junior coalition partners in government have seen their support drop slightly over that period: -0.3 p.p. to 16.6% for the centre-right Third Way (Trzecia Droga) and -0.9 p.p. to 9.3% for The Left (Lewica). Confederation fell by 1 p.p. to 7.8%.

At the parliamentary elections in October that paved the way for Tusk to come to power, PiS, in fact, finished first, with 35.4% of the vote. But that saw it lose its parliamentary majority and be replaced by the coalition of KO (which won 30.7% of the votes), Third Way (14.4%) and The Left (8.6%).

Poland’s new government is a diverse coalition ranging from left to centre-right and contains a mix of big names and new faces, including some from outside politics.

Read our profile of every minister and some of the challenges each will face ⬇️

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) December 13, 2023

Recent polling figures are “cause for satisfaction” in the government, political scientist Jarosław Flis told Rzeczpospolita, noting that they show the coalition would win an even larger majority if parliament elections were held now.

Poles will, in fact, head back to the polls again soon, for local elections in April and European elections in June. Another political scientist, Bartłomiej Biskup, suggested to Rzeczpospolita that many of the new government’s controversial actions may be been taken with those votes in mind.

“The goal is to maintain excitement in society until the local and European elections, because these strong emotions will allow for a high turnout and a good result,” said Biskup. “It is, therefore, a well-thought-out strategy.”

During its first month in power, Tusk’s government has replaced the management of public media outlets and effectively removed one of the country’s top prosecutors.

Those moves have been protested by PiS and President Andrzej Duda, a PiS ally, who argue that the government is undermining the rule of law and democracy – precisely the accusations that were levelled against PiS by Tusk during his time in opposition.

„Please stop trying to violate the law,” President @AndrzejDuda asked PM @donaldtusk at a meeting today amid growing tensions.

Tusk said that his government would continue its efforts to „restore the legal order, whether someone likes it or not”

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) January 15, 2024


Notes from Poland is run by a small editorial team and published by an independent, non-profit foundation that is funded through donations from our readers. We cannot do what we do without your support.

Main image credit: KPRM (under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 PL)

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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