Become a Patron

EU Parliamentary Projection: Social Democrats Hold Firm as Christian Democrats Flounder

Europe Elects’ European Parliament projection offers an indication of how voters in the European Union would vote should there be an EU Parliament election today. The timeline of the data presents how the national voting intentions of European citizens have shifted over the course of the pandemic on the EU level on a monthly basis. When comparing seats and the popular vote projected to the 2019 EU election result in this article, we contrast them to the EU27 scenario—meaning we exclude the United Kingdom, which left the EU in January 2020, also from the 2019 election results.

Europe Elects’ projection of popular vote in the EU since the last EU election

While the month of November saw few major shifts in the Europe Elects EU Parliament projection, the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) continues to lead the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP). The centre-left S&D  overtook the centre-right EPP for the first time in close to five years in the October projection. That being said, the continent’s two largest blocs saw little movement over the past month.

The S&D group has remained steady at 155 seats, while it has actually declined in the popular vote projection from 20.7% to 20.4%. The EPP saw a similar decline in the popular vote projection, from 19.5% to 19.2%, but also a decline of five seats, from 151 to 146. That means that since June the EPP has declined by 10 seats in the projection, while the S&D have grown by 11. 

The reversal of fortunes for both pan-European parties since July has been dramatic, but especially for the S&D, and social democratic parties across Europe more broadly. With a few very notable exceptions, social democratic parties have seen dramatic gains in polling and successes in electoral results between June and November. This is especially notable in Germany, where the new centre-left Prime Minister Olaf Scholz was sworn in this month after leading his party to victory in September. He will not govern alone, however, but also with the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP-RE) and the German Alliance ‘90/The Greens (Grüne-Greens/EFA).

The Green group is worth mentioning as well since they have seen the largest jump in projected seats in this month’s projection, up from 51 to 55. This is partly thanks to a general increase in their projected popular vote share, from 7.2% to 7.4%, but is also thanks to the dramatic victory of the centrist We Continue the Change (PP-G/EFA) alliance in November’s Bulgarian Parliamentary election. The local branch of pan-European Volt is included in the alliance, which lends them the affiliation with Greens/EFA in our projection, as their sole MEP in Germany sits with the group. Before the election, the alliance polled consistently at around 15%, but never led a single poll. Then, on election night, they came away with over a quarter of the vote, beating ruling Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s centre-right GERB (EPP).

Change from last month of Europe Elects’ projection

Other than those three groups, no other has seen a change of more than one seat compared with last month. The European Parliament’s third largest grouping, the liberal Renew Europe, is up one seat to 103, though its projected share of the vote grew from 13% to 13.6%, the most of any grouping. The national-conservative European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the right-wing Identity and Democracy Group (ID) both saw no change in their projected share of seats. The ECR group saw a decline of 0.4 percentage points in the projected vote share to 10.3%, while the ID group grew slightly to 10.4%. 

Meanwhile, The Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL (LEFT) also saw no change in its projected seat share, and a minuscule 0.1% percentage point drop in projected vote share. The Non-Inscrits lost a projected vote share of 0.5 percentage points, dropping to 4.8%, though they would pick up another seat, bringing their number to 36.

Europe Elects’ projection of seats in European Parliament since the last EU election

Disproportionate or sometimes opposite developments in the popular vote share and the seat projection can be explained with the slight disproportionality of the electoral system for the European Parliament. Visit our European Parliament projection site for a more in-depth overview and explanation of the methodology behind the monthly projection.