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Ukraine on the eve of the parliamentary elections: public opinion of Ukrainians

April 14, 2012

The Razumkov Center conducted a public opinion poll in conjunction with the I. Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation from March 30 to April 4, 2012 in which 2,009 people 18 years and older were surveyed in all oblasts of Ukraine, in Kyiv and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) by selection representing the adult population of Ukraine based on the main socio-demographic indicators and criteria. The selective polling was stratified, conducted in multiple stages and was random with selection of respondents in the final stage based on quotas. The survey was conducted in 132 populated regions of the country (79 in provincial towns and 53 in rural settlements). The theoretical margin of error is no more than 2.3% with a probability coefficient of 0.95 without factoring in the design effect.


Polling was financed within the framework of the UNITER project.


-          77.6% of Ukrainians voiced their readiness to vote during the parliamentary elections (43.1% responded “Definitely” and 34.5% said “Most likely”)

-          The main factors that motivate citizens to come out and vote is the sense of civil duty (45%), fear that others will take advantage of their vote (34%) and party members and candidates that the people would give their vote to (22%).

-          The main reasons that people do not come out to vote is they do not feel any party or candidate is worth voting for (39%), their distrust in the fairness of the elections (22%), lack of interest in politics (19%) and conviction that members of the parliament Rada will not resolve any issues one way or the other (19%).

-          If the elections were held in the first half of April 2012, the following parties would win seats in the parliament: Party of Regions – 24.5%, Batkivshchyna – 16.8%, Front of Changes (Arseniy Yatsenyuk) – 11.9%, the UDAR party of Vitaliy Klitschko – 9.0%, the Communist Party of Ukraine – 5.6%, the Civilian Position party of Anatoliy Hrytsenko – 3.5% and the Svoboda party of Oleh Tyahnybok – 3.0%. 18% of the electorate in the eastern regions of Ukraine is undecided, while only 11% in the western regions are undecided. All percentages were calculated based on respondents to the survey that said they will go to the voting stations.

-          Among the electorate there is no common opinion about the optimal variant of a unified opposition: 45% of the surveyed is indifferent, 22% feels that all opposition forces (Batkivshchyna, Front of Changes, UDAR, Svoboda and others) run together in the elections, 8% support the unification of Batkivshchyna and Svoboda and 11% all opposition forces should run independently in order to hurdle the 5% barrier for seats in parliament and then unite.

-          There is a high level of doubt among the electorate that the upcoming elections will be free and fair: 37% of the electorate assumes that the results of the elections will be rigged, while 24% is certain of this. The results of such polls prior to the parliamentary elections in 2007 were very close to these figures – 35% and 20% accordingly. Only 6% of the people are convinced of the total fairness and transparency of the upcoming elections, while 24% believe there will be separate violations of electoral procedures that will not have an impact on the results.

-          Ukrainians give a fairly pessimistic assessment of the effect of the elections. Indeed, the overwhelming majority (43%) feels the elections will not change anything, 31% hopes that the elections will improve the economic situation in the country and 6% voiced their concern that the elections will worsen the situation. What is interesting is that the people had almost similar expectations prior to the elections in 2007 (42% responded “This won’t change a thing”, 28% said “The situation will improve” and 12% responded “The situation will worsen”.

-          Only 13% of the people are confident that their participation in voting will have an impact on the situation in Ukraine, 38% feel they will have some effect and 39% feel their votes will have absolutely no impact. The perception of the possibility of having a personal impact through voting is directly dependant on the readiness of the electorate to come out and vote: among the people that are ready to votes, 22% are confident that their vote will have he desired effect, 47% say their vote will have some measure of effect and 24% say their vote will have absolutely no effect. Among those that will “most likely” come out to vote, the figures are as follows: 10%, 49% and 31%, correspondingly. Only 1% of those that will not come out to vote are confident in the impact of their votes, 4.5% believe their votes will have some effect and 86.5% feel their votes will have absolutely no impact on the results.

-          56% of citizens condemn voting for money, 27% have a negative attitude towards this and 11% have a totally positive attitude towards selling their vote for money. 73% of the people will not sell their vote on principle for any price, 2% say are ready to do so at any price, 8% will sell their vote if the price is right and 8% will take money only if they had planned to vote for a particular candidate. Very few people are prepared to sell their vote for a low price: 3% will do it for UAH 200, 2% - for UAH 201-300, 4% -- for UAH 301-500 and 12% value their vote at more than UAH 500.

-          Only 4% of the population agreed to vote for a candidate that provides aid to residents of the voting constituency in the form of care packages with food, medicines, etc. While nearly one third of the voters (32%) are not against accepting such assistance, they believe this will not affect their choice. 51% will not accept such assistance and will not vote for candidates offering it purely out of principle.

-          The majority of citizens positively assess installation of surveillance cameras at voting stations. 73% believe this will help allow for monitoring of the work of election commissions and the situation at voting stations. 57% are sure that surveillance cameras are the best method of making the voting process more transparent. The majority of voters are not afraid of surveillance cameras: only 16% of the people believe they are installed in order to scare away voters (58% disagree with this) or to affect their votes (19% of the voters believe this, while 46% disagree). The absolute majority of voters (71%) responded that they are not afraid of surveillance cameras (only 10% of responded that they are afraid of such monitoring). 31% of the polled believe that surveillance cameras will show who voted for whom, while 33% said they will not.

-          40% of citizens feel the presence of foreign observers will have a positive effect in the next parliamentary elections, 35% believe the participation of observers of Ukrainian non-government organizations will be effective, observers representing political parties and candidates (34%) and international observers from countries of the CIS (20.5%) with a side note that respondents were offered a multiple choice of answers. 21% of respondents are confident that observers do not add any benefit. After the elections to local offices in 2010, the importance of observers in the public opinion grew – international observers (12%), observers of non-government organizations (10%), observers of Ukrainian political parties and candidates (8%) and the percentage of respondents that see no added benefit from the participation of election observers from CIS countries did not change.

-          Only 5% of Ukrainians are aware that the civil movement Chesno (Honestly) was formed and 19% responded that they “heard about such a movement”. 61% of the surveyed feel that the activity of this organization is beneficial, while 16% say they see no benefits in it. 21% of the respondents say such information will be important and have an impact on their choice, 47% say such information is interesting but are not sure it will affect their choice and 24% responded they are not interested.

-          What is interesting is that among those prepared to vote for different parties there are approximately an equal number of voters that believe the propaganda of the Chesno movement will have an impact on their vote: Party of Regions (25%), Batkivshchyna (23%), UDAR (29%) Front of Changes (29.5%), CPU (17%) and those who are undecided (19%). The number of people that will be interested in information that may or may not influence their vote was even higher: 62% of Batkivshchyna supporters, 58% -- Front of Changes, 58.5% -- UDAR, 46% -- Party of Regions and 48% are undecided.

-          64% of the people will not vote for a candidate that was involved in corruption even if he or she did a lot for the community, while 21% may vote for such a candidate. 66% of the supporters of Batkivshchyna will not vote for a corrupt official or philanthropist, while 22% may vote for such a candidate. The corresponding figures for candidates of the CPU are 65% and 24%, Party of Regions – 51.5% and 31.5%, UDAR 68% and 18% and Front of Changes – 65% and 26%.

-          74% of the people will not vote for a party whose candidate was involved in corruption, while 12% may vote in favor of such a candidate. 73% of the electorate will not vote in favor of corrupt candidates on the Batkivshchyna party list, while 13% may vote in favor. For the CPU these figures are 75% and 11%, Party of Regions – 65% and 17%, UDAR – 72% and 14% and Front of Changes – 74% and 15%, accordingly.

-          Only 32% of the population in Ukraine feels that elections are a realistic mechanism of influence on the people on the ruling power. 46% of the surveyed disagree. The main obstacles to elections becoming a mechanism of the people’s participation in state matters are failure of the elected to fulfill their election promises (59%), the poor qualifications of candidates that run for office (45%), the absence of civil control over candidates elected by the government (38%), non-compliance of elections to democratic standards (30%) and the fact that voters in Ukraine are passive in exercising their rights to file complaints to those they elected (29%).   


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