IFES Press Release: Despite Concerns of Intimidation, Ukrainians in the East Intent on Voting

Publication Date: 
22 May 2014

News Type:

IFES’ Latest Survey Shows Petro Poroshenko as Clear Frontrunner in May 25 Presidential Election

WASHINGTON/KYIV — May 22, 2013 — A majority of Ukrainians is likely to vote in the May 25 presidential election, according to a new national survey conducted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) between April 29 and May 11, 2014. IFES has conducted regular public opinion surveys in Ukraine for the past two decades and has been a leading source of research on political attitudes in the country.

Overall, 55 percent of Ukrainians say they are very likely to vote and 25 percent say they are somewhat likely to vote in the presidential election. In the East, where the ongoing conflict has led many to expect widespread voter apathy and intimidation, 62 percent of Ukrainians still say they are somewhat (21 percent) or very (41 percent) likely to vote.

Petro Poroshenko is the clear frontrunner in the first round of the presidential race. Among likely voters, Poroshenko has the support of 42 percent of voters nationwide, followed by Yulia Tymoshenko at 7 percent, and Serhiy Tihipko at 5 percent. Mykhailo Dobkin, Anatoliy Grytsenko and Oleh Liashko each poll at 4 percent.

Poroshenko’s support among likely voters has increased significantly since an IFES survey in April 2014, which had his support at 35 percent. Seventeen percent of respondents said they were undecided, and the survey data indicates that if these voters distribute their support similarly to those who have already decided, then Poroshenko may win the election outright in the first round.

Poroshenko is the leading choice for president in all regions of the country, with especially strong support in the West (53 percent) and Center (48 percent) among likely voters. Voters in these two regions have the highest likelihood of all regions to take part in the presidential election, another factor that may contribute to an outright victory for Poroshenko in the first round.


Voter turnout is likely to be lowest in the East, where a significant percentage of voters (39 percent) anticipate being pressured not to take part in the presidential election. In Kharkiv, 59 percent of respondents expect to feel pressured to abstain from voting, with fewer citing pressure in Donetsk (40 percent), Luhansk (39 percent) and Dnipropetrovsk (31 percent). Despite such expectation of pressure, 41 percent of the voters in East said they were very likely to vote in the presidential election, and 21 percent somewhat likely.

IFES collaborated with the Kiev International Institute of Sociology to place questions focused on the May 25 presidential election on an omnibus survey with 2,022 respondents throughout Ukraine. The margin of error for a survey of this size is plus/minus 2.2 percent. This survey was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Views expressed in this poll do not necessarily reflect the opinions of USAID or the U.S. government. 

Download the key findings of IFES’ latest Ukraine public opinion survey. 

Read IFES’ Frequently Asked Questions on Elections in Ukraine: May 25 Early Presidential Election

Learn more about IFES’ program in Ukraine. 
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As the global leader in democracy promotion, IFES advances good governance and democratic rights by providing technical assistance to election officials; empowering the underrepresented to participate in the political process; and applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle. Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 135 countries, from developing democracies, to mature democracies. For more information, visit www.IFES.org.

CONTACT: Daniela Colaiacovo, dcolaiacovo@ifes.org, +1 (202) 350-6802