The ongoing campaign is somewhat atypical, as campaigning efforts have moved more into the field and less on TV. “Unlike previous campaigns and other situations, there are at last some visible contenders now to match the Socialists and Igor Dodon. And this will be reflected by the outcome on Election Day”, thinks Doru Petruți, director of the polling firm Imas.
Speaking during a public debate focusing on post-electoral scenarios, Petruți said he would not entirely rule out an outcome leading to early elections, but considered it less likely. “And this is because it would only happen if the scores turn out split more or less equally between the three parties that the polls show as passing. But I doubt this will be the case. Moreover, we shouldn’t be confused by the results of polls that only show party preferences. In fact we know very little about what is going on in the single-member constituencies and this is where surprises will come from, I think. This is something new. More, it’s not uncommon for parties to change their discourse after elections. We recently saw that statement about the NOW Bloc going to break into two or three factions. So I think possibilities for a coalition will be at least three or four”.
Petruți said this campaign's decisive battles are fought in the provinces, echoing the 2010 Lib-Dems’ win over the Communists in rural areas. In this respect, Petruți suggests, the Democrats’ canvassing tactics are a game-changer. “They are the only ones capable of approaching that group of voters aged 50 or older in the rural areas. This could lead to the curious situation where the Socialists take more votes in the urban areas than in the rural ones”.
At the same time, in Petruți’s opinion, the turnout level and the demographic factor could advantage the Socialists and the Democrats. “I expect the turnout to be lower and the average voter to be older compared to previous elections, and this will directly affect the outcome”.
Like with the local elections, geopolitics is now hardly present, and Petruți thinks the Democrats have done a good job introducing social issues. “The novelty that can be seen within the voter structures and which have been oscillating a great deal lately concerns voters on the political left. There are four political parties fighting for what amounts to more than two-thirds of the electorate – the Socialists, the Democrats, the Shor Party and the Communists. I can picture the Shor Party making it into Parliament, thanks to its constant ascent throughout 2018”.
Another novelty underlined by Petruți is the great number of the undecided that grows even more as Election Day approaches, the exact opposite of what we saw in previous campaigns.