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Rating change: Why Poroshenko's rating rises, and Zelensky’s falls

Author : Natalia Lebed

The final conclusions will be made after July 21. Less than three weeks remain before the early parliamentary elections
23:15, 3 July 2019

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky
Reuters

Analyzing the unusually high rating of Volodymyr Zelensky before the second round of elections, almost every expert said the following: people voted not so much for Zelensky, but against Poroshenko - at least a significant part of the Ze-fans. In other words, what plays the role is not so much sympathy for one candidate as the categorical rejection of another. The first weeks after the elections looked like this was exactly the case: Poroshenko’s popularity continued to fall steadily - so much that even his passing to parliament was in doubt.

And almost a miracle happened. Anti-rating of his party European solidarity first began to decline. This trend was recorded by sociologists from the Center for Social Monitoring and the Yaremenko Institute of Social Research. This anti-rating as of June 27 is 44.1% and is still the highest among other political forces. However - an important remark! - as of June 14, it was 52%. It took less than two weeks for the negative attitude towards Poroshenko to decrease substantially and lose as much as 7.9%. By the way, Yulia Tymoshenko has also done quite well: her anti-rating has dropped from 21.3% to 15.5%.

Love or not

Meanwhile, there is another trend: the fall in the rating of the ruling President Zelensky’s party. The poll quoted above stated that now the support of the Servant of the People is at the level of 43.2% (for comparison, the Opposition Platform has 12%, Batkivshchyna - 9.4%, Holos - 8.3% European solidarity - 8%).

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The Yaremenko Institute of Social Research has already conducted six waves of research, and therefore, it can be stated: the growth of Zelensky’s political force rating stopped in mid-June. Up to this point, the Servant of the People party has only increased its popularity, having gone from 39.9% to 47.4%. But the latest study recorded a drop in support of 4%.

“I wouldn’t call this the Servant of the People’s rating stagnation. Rather, we can say that they have passed their maximum, and now the rating is stabilizing - a departure from some kind of emotional mood to greater pragmatism,” says Olga Balakireva, director of the institute.

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I remember how in May blogger Mykhailo Chaplyga predicted that the Servant of the People would hold the lead for about six months, and then the rating would go down. But the Opposition Platform - For Life’s rating will grow. Tymoshenko’s rating will grow a little too because there will be a drift from a request for new faces towards a request for specialists. There will be a shift from the protest against the old system to the need for government management. "

Whether such a need has already been formed is difficult to say. The experts we interviewed indicated two main reasons for the fall in Zelensky’s rating and the simultaneous decrease in Poroshenko’s anti-rating. This is a disappointment in the Ze-team and the realization that the new government is responsible for what is happening in the country, and being angry at the previous one is at least not constructive.

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Flowing negativity from the ex-president to the current head of state is, in principle, inevitable. The honeymoon of the Servant of the People with the Ukrainian voter is coming to an end, political scientist Kyrylo Molchanov notes. In his opinion, Zelensky’s electorate will partly go to  The Opposition Platform - For Life, but Poroshenko’s voter may choose Svyatoslav Vakarchuk and his Holos as his new idol.

After all, the fact that they began to hate Poroshenko less does not mean an increase in sympathy for him.

Tariffs, staff and "international issues" form negativity

But why is the Servant of the people losing popularity? “The reasons are tariffs and Donbas, it’s not known how things will work out; for other issues, it’s the same. Our elections were a big prenatal center, and political babies came to power after the “births”, and now they are growing up, and not everyone likes their decisions,” states director of the Institute of Global Strategies Vadym Karasev. And he adds: "The rating will fall against the background of recent controversial statements and discontent with some speakers. And this is despite the fact that sociologists obviously have not yet had time to take into account recent statements of the presidential team."

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"The key mistakes of Zelensky’s team are tariffs, foreign policy plus the absence of the real consequences during the first month of work. That is such consequences that Ukrainians could really feel. Therefore, the transformation of the formula Rotterdam + and Rotterdam- is not exactly what the Ukrainians expected. And the words of Gerus that the president "joked" about tariffs, in general, did considerable damage to the presidential rating. Theoretically, support for his political power could be at 73% but reached a maximum of 51%. The raring of his party is from 40-45%, and this is the result of all the mistakes and shortcomings of the team ... What can happen before the election? Everything depends on the president’s actions. Theoretically, his rating can increase if there are advancements in tariffs or regarding the war in the east ", Ruslan Bortnyk, director of the Ukrainian Institute for Policy Analysis and Management, comments

.Zugzwang of Zelensky

But what is happening in another camp - in the camp of the former president Poroshenko, whom voters have unexpectedly “forgiven” some of the complaints? “As for Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, people begin to forget what happened recently. We have formed a new power, and most of the negative are transferred to it automatically. Social networks have led to the atomizing of population memory, and many simply do not know how to draw some conclusions within five years, so moods change depending on events that have been going on for the past few months or even weeks, and this is still at best. Therefore, since Poroshenko has not been president for more than a month, some negative started to dissolve. Whether this "blurry" negative is converted into positive – we’re not sure. Everything depends on how many new ideas he can offer people. The same goes for Yulia Tymoshenko, "says the deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for Extremism Research Bogdan Petrenko.

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"And Zelensky doesn’t produce most of the ideas, but his office does. Razumkov with Stefanchuk and others, and I have the impression that they throw a thesis into society (from the referendum to the Russian language), and then study what a resonance it has ... And although it is difficult to isolate any specific fatal mistakes from Zelensky, his entire behavioral strategy leads to the fact that the rating of the "Servant of the People" eventually collapses, "says Petrenko.

And at the same time, the newly elected head of state will be responsible for all the processes taking place in Ukraine. “More and more people are beginning to connect both good and bad in the present life with Zelensky and his team. In general, the deceleration of the rating of Servant of the people is connected with the exhaustion of its electoral niche, with not entirely successful statements (including foreign policy), because of which some voters are beginning to look at the new president with skepticism. Therefore, in the future, the anti-ratings of politicians who have already left the government will decrease, and of those who are still in power will increase, ”the expert believes.

"Good old politicians"

In a word, those politicians who were already at the helm, and now have left it, giving way to others, are in a significantly advantageous situation. At least temporarily.

“The political market is oversaturated with so-called“ new faces. ”Strangers with no achievements and no concrete proposals. First, the Servant of the People - and new faces, then Holos - and also new faces, then someone else, but certainly new ones. Accordingly, the voter is confused and begins to remember the good old politicians," Kost Bondarenko, founder of the analytical center" Gorshenin Institute ", ironically says.

“Poroshenko and Tymoshenko’s ratings will not rise significantly, but they will not fall either,” he adds, answering the question. “It seems to me that they have already been fixed at a certain point in this camp. Plus, much will depend on voter turnout.”

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As for the transformations that the public attitude towards Zelensky is currently experiencing, then disappointment lies not only with the president himself but also with the infantile-naive part of society. "Each voter endowed him with some of his own properties, that is, he wanted to see him as "his" Zelensky. But now he became president, and some of the people are predictably disappointed with idealized Zelensky, and this, respectively, will hit his party ", summarizes Bondarenko.

The final conclusions will be made after July 21. Less than three weeks remain before the early parliamentary elections.

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