Final political poll shows everything still to play for

With four days still to go before Czechs start voting in elections to the lower house, the last opinion poll has come out. But the political parties and their leaders still hope to sway some of those wavering or undecided voters with final rallies and debates still to come.

The final survey before the ban on polls takes effect on Tuesday shows everything still to play for and everything still up in the air as regards who might form a future government.

Jiří Paroubek, photo: CTKJiří Paroubek, photo: CTK The final poll by the Factum Invenio agency published in the daily Dnes on Monday shows the Social Democrats still out ahead as they have been throughout the campaign. But their earlier support seems to be eroding and their main rival, the right of centre Civic Democrats, appears to be closing the gap.

Some of the Social Democrat voters appear to be drifting away to the new party Public Affairs whose support continues to rise and is even beginning to challenge the Communist Party for third place.

Backing for the other political newcomer, Top 09, is also holding up and the last poll suggests the Christian Democrats will get into the lower house by passing the 5.0 percent national threshold. The margin for error for such surveys is up to 2.0 percent.

David Cameron's video message screened at the Civic Democrats' rally, photo: CTKDavid Cameron's video message screened at the Civic Democrats' rally, photo: CTK If the final poll is spot on, the Social Democrats and Communists would still fall well short of a majority in the 200-seat lower chamber

The head of the polling agency, Jan Herzmann, says the survey results casts the Christian Democrats and Public Affairs as likely kingmakers with the possibility they could tip the balance towards a right or left-wing coalition.

Although the polling agencies have their election work behind them, the campaign still goes on. The Civic Democrats rolled out the newly installed British Prime Minister David Cameron, not in person but a video message from him, at a major rally in Prague on Sunday.

But the main message the Civic Democrats are now pushing is that they are the only right wing party which can bar Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek from becoming prime minister. Newspaper ads plastered across the Czech media on Monday recalled TOP 09 deputy leader Miroslav Kalousek’s willingness to back a minority Social Democrat-Communist government four years ago.

Civic Democrats leader Petr Nečas, Jiří Paroubek (right), photo: CTKCivic Democrats leader Petr Nečas, Jiří Paroubek (right), photo: CTK The leaders of the two main parties still have to clash in nationwide television and radio debates before voters go to the polls on Friday, although the television debates so far have mostly been judged to have been inconclusive affairs. The Social Democrats hold their closing campaign rally in Brno on Thursday. The Civic Democrats wrap up theirs a few hours earlier in Prague. Then, the real poll begins.