Opinion Poll Shows Pessimism Before National Election
High Proportion of Voters Remain Undecided
WASHINGTON/KYIV — Oct. 11, 2012 — Ukrainians head to the October 28 parliamentary elections with a pessimistic outlook on the state of affairs in the country, low levels of confidence in political leaders and institutions, and with divided loyalties in political party support, according to a survey conducted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).
The survey findings also indicate that a majority of Ukrainians believe that the country is on the wrong track and have negative sentiments about the economic and political situation in the country.
The results come from IFES' 20th public opinion survey in Ukraine, which polled respondents throughout the country on their thoughts on politics, economic issues and current events. IFES has conducted regular public opinion surveys in Ukraine since 1994.
The survey reveals that there is continued lack of confidence in key political leaders in the country. Only 32 percent have confidence in President Viktor Yanukovych (59 percent do not), and similarly low levels of confidence are reported for Prime Minister Mykola Azarov (30 percent), the Head of United Opposition/Batkivshchyna Arseniy Yatsenyuk (24 percent), and the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (21 percent). The Head of UDAR, Vitaliy Klitschko, is the only political leader in whom more Ukrainians have confidence (42 percent) than lack confidence.
The low confidence in President Yanukovych is reflected in poor approval for his handling of key policy areas. Eight in 10 Ukrainians are dissatisfied with the president's handling of job creation, inflation, and pension reform, while three-quarters are dissatisfied with his effort to address corruption. A majority are also dissatisfied with his efforts on other reform issues, including medical and land reforms, and limiting oligarchs' influence.
Despite these low ratings, the survey finds that Yanukovych's Party of Regions (POR) is well-positioned for the parliamentary elections. When asked to name the party that best represents their views and interests, POR is named by 27 percent of likely voters compared to 15 percent for Batkivshchyna, 11 percent for UDAR, 8 percent for the Communist Party, 4 percent for Svoboda, and 2 percent for Ukraine Forward. A large percentage of likely voters (22 percent) are undecided, especially in the western and northern regions of Ukraine and in Kyiv.
The survey also finds that a majority of Ukrainians are concerned about the integrity of the election process in Ukraine. Only 14 percent of Ukrainians believe that the election will be completely free and fair. Falsified results' counting (54 percent) and voters being given money or rewards for their vote (37 percent) top the list of voters' concerns. The percentage saying they are very likely to vote (51 percent) is the lowest IFES has recorded before in any survey in Ukraine in the last decade.
Other key findings from the 2012 survey include:
- The media are among the most trusted institutions in Ukraine, with 63 percent of respondents saying they have confidence in the media. While confidence in the Central Election Commission (CEC) has increased since 2011, more Ukrainians still lack confidence in the CEC (47 percent) than have confidence (34 percent) in it. Only 23 percent have confidence in the Verkhovna Rada (18 percent in 2011).
- A slight majority of Ukrainians (51 percent) believe that it is important for political parties and candidates to disclose the amount of money donated to their campaigns. The majority of Ukrainians also support regulatory initiatives that address the role of money in the political process: a ban on the use of state resources for campaigning (85 percent), a limit on how much parties/candidates can spend on election campaigns (72 percent), and a limit on how much any one person can contribute to political campaigns (62 percent).
- There has been an increase since the 2011 survey in the percentage of Ukrainians who consider democracy as preferable to any other form of government (46 percent in 2012 versus 35 percent in 2011).
The 2012 survey was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and includes responses from 1,512 voting-age Ukrainians polled in September 2012. Reports covering key findings of the 2012 survey and previous surveys are available at www.IFES.org. The opinions expressed in this survey do not necessarily reflect the opinions of USAID or U.S. Government.
IFES is an independent, nonprofit leader in election assistance and democracy promotion. Since its founding in 1987, IFES has worked in more than 135 countries, from developing to mature democracies. For more information, visit www.IFES.org.