Ukraine president looses public support, poll says

Ukraine president looses public support, poll says
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's popularity continues to tumble in polls / Ukraine president's office
By bne IntelliNews June 26, 2018

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is loosing his popularity, according to the latest poll conducted this month by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS).

A political survivor, populist Yulia Tymoshenko remains the most popular candidate for the nation's president, with 22.8% support among decided voters. She is followed by former defence minister Anatoliy Grytsenko (16%), populist Oleh Lyashko (13.2%), pro-Russian opposition leader Yuriy Boyko (10.6%) and Petro Poroshenko (10.5%).

The presidential vote in Ukraine is scheduled for March 2019. Tymoshenko remain the most popular candidate in the opinion polls, which have been conducted in Ukraine over the past two years. At the same time, Poroshenko’s popularity ratings are in free fall.

Specifically, some 8.7% of respondents said they would vote for Tymoshenko if the election was held next Sunday, while 7.6% said they would support Poroshenko, according to January's survey conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation named after Ilko Kucheriv jointly with the Kyiv-based Rasumkov sociological service centre.

At the same time, some experts believe that Poroshenko has a good chance of beating Tymoshenko in a possible second-round runoff due to the fact that Tymoshenko has one of the highest negative ratings amongst Ukrainian politicians (amount of voters who will not vote for the former PM under any circumstances).

Ukraine's western backers and donors will also likely support Poroshenko against Tymoshenko during the second-round runoff, as the later is strongly associated with populism and anti-market solutions.

"This [KIIS] poll confirms the president’s collapse in public support, which is buttressed by the widely held view that the country is headed in the wrong direction," Zenon Zawada at Kyiv-based brokerage Concorde Capital wrote in a note on June 26. "For Poroshenko to have a fighting chance in the March presidential vote, he will need to poll consistently at least among the top three. Otherwise, he can’t make a legitimate case for qualifying for the second-round runoff."

The expert believes that Poroshenko has exhausted his resources and talents as president and is entering lame duck status.

"It’s unlikely that modest pension and minimum wage increases can boost his support. And using law enforcement to persecute his outperforming rivals, which has been alleged in recent months, will only backfire and worsen his standing even further," Zawada added. "All the momentum currently is with Tymoshenko and Grytsenko."

Meanwhile, for the parliamentary vote scheduled for October 2019, 21.6% of decided voters will cast their ballot for Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party.

15.9% of voters are ready to support for Grytsenko’s public movement, 11.4% for Boyko’s Opposition Bloc, 11.1% for Lyashko’s Radical Party, 10.5% for the pro-Russian For Life party and 7.9% for the Solidarity Poroshenko Bloc.

According to KIIS, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (83.7%) are dissatisfied with the direction the country is heading, according to the poll. At the same time, 43.7% support EU integration and 41.1% support integration into NATO.

The poll, financed by Ukrainian and Western sources, conducted interviews with 2,005 respondents between June 7 and 21.