Election 2023: Pavel holds onto slim lead with Nerudová fast closing the gap

A new opinion poll sees a small decline in the popularity of Petr Pavel and Andrej Babiš and a surge in popularity for Danuše Nerudová.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 07.11.2022 11:34:00 (updated on 07.11.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

An October poll from the Median polling agency found that Petr Pavel, a retired army general, is favorite to win the presidential election, due to take place on Jan. 13-14, 2023.

In the poll, Pavel received 22.5 percent of the vote, marginally higher than former Prime Minister and head of the right-wing opposition ANO party Andrej Babiš who had 22 percent. Economist and former head of Mendel University in Brno, Danuše Nerudová, was the third-most popular candidate, with 15 percent.

In fourth place was Senator Pavel Fischer with 7.5 percent, followed by trade unionist Josef Středula with 7 percent. President Miloš Zeman earlier endorsed Středula and Babiš for president.

Stagnating support for Pavel and Babiš

The results from Median show an interesting change from its September opinion poll. In the previous month’s survey, the two frontrunners had a higher vote share: Pavel had 24 percent and Babiš had 23.5 percent; both candidates have seen a decline in their vote share by 1.5 percentage points, although this is within the margin of error.

Nerudová, on the other hand, has experienced a rapid surge in popularity, with her vote share increasing by 5 percentage points from September. In July, she had just 7.5 percent of the vote.

A hypothetical election second round in which Babiš would face off against other candidates would see him lose against most other potential contenders.

In a second-round run-off between Babiš and Pavel, the latter would have 59 percent of the vote, according to the Median poll. A face-off between Babiš and Nerudová would similarly see a loss for Babiš, with the economist getting 57 percent of the vote. Even Fischer would narrowly beat Babiš. 

More people are certain of who they will vote for in the elections: 41.5 percent had a clear favorite in October, compared with 38.5 percent in September. However, the proportion of people who said that they would definitely vote in the elections marginally declined – from 65.5 percent in September to 64 percent in October.

Presidential election poll in October (MEDIAN)

  • 1.Petr Pavel: 22.5 percent (-1.5 percentage points from September)
  • 2.Andrej Babiš: 22 percent (-1.5 percentage points from September)
  • 3.Danuše Nerudová: 15 percent (+5 percentage points from September)

This, however, shows an above-average turnout in Czech presidential elections: in the first round of the 2018 presidential election, 62 percent of eligible adults voted. Turnout was one percentage point lower in 2013.

Different opinion polls show slightly different outcomes, but still put Pavel as favorite to win. An October survey from Ipsos showed Pavel with a wider lead: the general had 27.9 percent of the vote share, compared with 23.3 percent for Babiš. Nerudová again trailed in third, but with a slightly higher vote share compared to Median’s poll, at almost 17 percent. 

Another poll by the STEM/Mark agency in early October gave Pavel a considerable six-percentage-point lead over Babiš, with Pavel accruing 23 percent of the vote. Nerudová received 14 percent of the vote share.

Analysts have commented that Babiš’s current problems with the ongoing Čapí hnízdo subsidy-fraud case may finder his victory chances. The former prime minister, who announced his candidacy only last week, already secured the support from members of his party to officially run for president.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more