Up to 475,000 viewers have tuned in to the first of three debates between the two candidates for the repeat Austrian presidential election on television station Puls 4 on Sunday evening. Citing local media, Xinhua reported the figures on Monday. They fall in line with the number of viewers the two candidates, Greens-backed Alexander Van der Bellen and the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer, had in their television debates prior to the initial run-off election in May.
In a survey of 500 viewers of the debate, research and marketing institute OGM found 49 per cent thought Hofer was the winner, compared to 46 per cent in favour of Van der Bellen. Conversely when asked who would be the better “mediator and connector” for the country, 52 per cent backed the former Greens party leader, compared to 41 per cent for Hofer.