2015: political overview – public opinion

The Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation conducted this research in conjunction with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) from December 15-25, 2015. A total of 2,040 respondents from the age of 18 and up were polled in all regions of Ukraine, with the exception of the Crimean Autonomous Republic. In the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts polling was conducted only on the territories controlled by Ukraine. As a result of the polling stage in the field a total of 2,040 questionnaires were collected. The theoretical margin of error is 2.3%.
The polling was conducted with the financial support of the European European Union.

A review of the results of the poll conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation in cooperation with the Razumkov Center and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology is provided below.

  • At the end of 2015 a total of 60% of the population feel that the events in Ukraine are unfolding in the wrong direction – almost the same number of people (58%) at the end of 2014 and somewhat less (52%) at the end of 2013 believed the same. 21% of the polled believe the direction of development of events in December 2015 was right (22% -- in December 2014 and 26% in December 2013).  
  • For those who feel that Ukraine is moving in the right direction their main arguments of such confidence are as follows: Ukraine’s movement towards European integration (63%), an increase in the social activity of the people and expansion of volunteering (39%), implementation of the necessary reforms, albeit to quickly (38%), reinforcement of the Ukrainian army that can rebuff the aggressor (34%) and stronger solidarity and patriotism of the people (33%).
  • For those who feel that Ukraine is moving in the wrong direction, the following arguments are testimony to the falsity of this path: the war in the East continues (73%), prices are rising, while wages are not (69%), the high level of corruption (57%), people are insecure about their futureу (38%), utility rates rapidly grew (36%) and oligarchs continue to control the country (31%).
  • The opinions regarding the correctness or incorrectness of the direction in which Ukrainian is moving is formed among the absolute majority of the population with based on personal experience (63%).
  • The main signal that the country has started to go inthe right directionfor the majority of the population would be putting an end to the war, establishing peace in the Donbas (73%), overall growth of the Ukrainian economy (56%), the overall growth in the standards of living – i.e. pensions, wages and stipends (52%), criminal liability of corrupt officials (50%) and the creation of new jobs (37%).
  • In the opinion of the public, the main tasks that the ruling authority should concentrate its efforts are as follows: regulate the situation in the Donbas and achieve peace (78.5%), fight agains corruption and corrupt individuals (56%), raise pensions and wages (48%), regulate prices and lower utility rates (45%), ensure social security of the poor (31.5%), renew industry and create new jobs (31%).
  • In December 2014 a total of 43% of the population was ready to withstand certain material hardships for the sake of the implementation of reforms: 10% were ready to “withstand us much as it would take to achieve success” and another 33% agreed to tolerate the hardships for no more than a year. 48% of the people were not ready to tolerate the hardships, 19% of which did not believe in the success of reforms, while 29% said that their material status was intolerable. A year later in December 2015 the number of people ready to tolerate material hardships for the sake of the success of reforms fell to 33%, 8% of which responded – however long it will take, while 25% – responded not more than a year. 59% of respondents said they will not tolerate it, 20% of which do not believe in the success of reforms, while 39% have no strength to tolerate such hardships due to their declining material status.
  • In December 2015 a total of 26.5% of the people felt that there may be mass protests in the city or village of residence (6.5% of them are sure about this, while 20% feel that this is unlikely to happen). Meanwhile, 38% believe that mass protests in the foreseeable future are highly unlikely, while 20% are certain that there will be no protests. This was basically the same situation in December 2014.
  • If demonstrations will be held, 24% of the people are ready to participate in them (8% – most definitely and another 16% – most likely). Traditionally, the highest level of inclination to participating in protests stands out in the western regions, where 39% of the people are personally ready to come out in protest. The lowest numbers are in the Eastern regions (7%) and in the Donbas (10%).
  • The people are less inclined to support acts of mob law. In December 2013, 50% of the polled felt that mob law is impermissible on any conditions, in December 2014 – 47% аnd in December 2015 року – 62%.  8% of the people polled in 2013 were convinced that in the current conditions mob law is the only way to punish criminals, in 2014 – 10%, in 2015 – 7.5%. Those most inclined to support mob law are residents of Western regions, where 15% are certain that mob law is the only way to punish criminals.
  • The main political feelings of the people are when they believe there is hope for the future of Ukraine (39%) and a threat to the country (39%), where such hope is greater in the western and central regions, while the threat is in the southern, eastern and Donbas regions.
  • In 2015 the leaders of trust in society were volunteers (in December 2015 68% of them trust, while 19% do not trust, hence the difference is +48%). Further, according to the level of trust there is the traditional leader – namely, the church (the trust/distrust ratio is +44%). The trust of the people in the Armed Forces of Ukraine prevails over those who do not trust in them (+22%), the trust/distrust ratio in non-government organizations is also positive (+10%), the balanced trust and distrust in the attitudes towards the mass media of Ukraine (0%) and the turst in Ukraine’s mass media is constantly in decline: in 2010 the trust-distrust ration was +26%.  
  • The highest level of distrust over the past two years in a row is in Russian mass media (– 75% in 2015, –72%  in 2014 and –28% in 2013). Further, all law enforcement agencies are at the top of the list in terms of distrust, which over the past five years has considerably grown: the courts (– 72% in 2015, – 72% у 2014,  – 45% in 2010),  Prosecutor General’s Office (– 66% in 2015, – 48% in 2010). The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is also not trusted by the people (the balance of trust –58%).  Trust in the Security Service of Ukraine is somewhat higher, though over five years it has also significantly fallen: from – 9% in 2010 to –35% in December 2015. Meanwhile, trust in the newly formed police has risen, though the trust-distrust ratio regarding the police was – 57%, while already in December 2015 this figure was –24%.
  • The trust in institutions of power sharply fell: the balance of trust in the Verkhovna Rada in December 2014 was – 26%, and within a year – 74%; trust in the government was – 18% in December 2014 and fell to – 67% accordingly, trust in the president fell from + 5% in December 2014 to – 40% in December 2015. Political parties also hold a “prize” place in the rating of distrust from –72% in December 2015. The trust in local government also fell from + 10% in 2012 до – 15% in December 2014 and – 24% in December 2015. The trust in banks somewhat increased: from – 71% in December 2014 to – 65% in December 2015.
  • Over the past year public opinion regarding the choice of foreign political orientation changed. In December 2014 a total of 57% of the people chose orientation towards accession to the EU, while only 16% were in favor of the Customs Union. In December 2015, these figures were 56% and 13%, respectively. However, on the issue of foreign policy orientation there are significant differences between the regions: the Western region is almost fully oriented towards the EU (85% versus 2%). The Central region is also pro-European oriented (63% versus 6%),  in the southern regions the European vector somewhat prevails over the eastern (27% versus 20%), in the East of Ukraine these two vectors are almost equal (29% and 30%) and in the Donbas the orientation towards the Customs Union prevails (24% – for EU membership and 33% – for the Customs Union). However, in the southern, eastern and Donbas regions a significant part of the population is undecided as to their orientation (53%, 41% and 43%, respectively).
  • The majority of the population feels that the best variant to guarantee the security of Ukraine would be joining NATO - 43% of the people believe in this. 29% of the people support the neutral status of Ukraine, while support of a military union with Russia and other countries of the CIS fell to a record low 5%.. However, on this issue there are significant regional differences: support of membership in NATO in the western regions of Ukraine (67%), in the central regions (50%) and in the southern and southern regions (51%), in the eastern regions (39%) and in the Donbas (51%) people give preference to the neutral status of Ukraine.
  • The majority of the population does not support the idea of snap parliamentary elections (37% are in favor, while 43% are against). 56% of the population expressed its readiness to vote in such elections if they are held.
  • In the event that snap parliamentary elections are held 9% of those who participate in the elections are ready to vote for the Petro Poroshenko Bloc party, 8.7% -- for the Samopomich party, 7.7% -- for the Batkivshchyna party, 6.5% -- for the Opposition Bloc, 4.1% -- for the Radical Party headed by Oleh Lyashko, 3.7% -- for the UKROP party, 3.3% -- for the Svoboda party and 3.3% -- for the Right Sector party. Be that as it may, 40% of those who are ready to turn out to vote in the elections are undecided on which party to support.