The Austrian nuclear power referendum and its influence on the Austrian general elections in May 1979

Date of publication: June 15, 1980

Company: GfK


The outcome of the Austrian national referendum against the operation of the nuclear power plant in Zwentendorf did not only turn out as a surprise for the Austrian political scene but has also been referred to, as a remarkable event on the international level. The nuclear power issue in Austria gained special actuality due to the fact that the referendum took place only a few months prior to the general election. The present paper presents the development of the climate of opinion before the national referendum, further demonstrates and analyzes the influence of the nuclear power issue on the attitudes and actual voting behaviour of the Austrian electorate during the national election using data of political survey research. In addition to content-specific and socio-psychological aspects methodological problems connected with public opinion polling are also taken into consideration.

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