Almost three quarters of Austrians have little or no interest in politics, a new poll has shown.

The shocking figures was revealed today (Thurs) in a poll by research agency Imas.

It said 71 per cent of respondents in a recent study said they were "not very" or "not at all" interested in politics.

Twenty-nine per cent told pollsters – who interviewed 1,086 people aged 16 and older for the representative survey in October and November – they would "often" or "constantly" follow current domestic political developments and debates.

A similar study by Imas in January and February 2000 found 56 per cent would "constantly" follow political issues. The agency said the survey had been conducted when Austria faced sanctions introduced by the European Union (EU) after the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) formed a government coalition with the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ).

EU member countries broke off official bilateral political contacts with Austria.

The sanctions were lifted later the same year after a three-member expert commission set up by the EU ruled they were "counterproductive" – and the interest of Austrians in political developments decreased again.

Imas said the level of interest in politics did not correspond to education levels and said as few as one in 20 Austrians younger than 30 followed developments in domestic politics.

The agency added lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 had no positive influence on the situation.