Why rating of Ukrainian president falls?

Author : Natalia Lebed

Source : 112 Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky is losing the trust of Ukrainians
23:10, 4 August 2020

Volodymyr Zelensky
Open source

"Everything passes," said King Solomon, who never had the trouble with his own rating. President Zelensky does not have to be such a melancholic philosopher when his popularity is decreasing.

Numbers down

Taking into account pure facts: 56% of Ukrainians are not satisfied with the activities of the current President of Ukraine. This is what the Rating sociological group says, according to its polls conducted on July 15-20.

At the same time, Zelensky is not the only one whos anti-rating prevails. For example, Dmytro Razumkov, speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, has anti-rating 55%, and only 24% of Ukrainians are satisfied with him. The work of Prime Minister Denys Shmygal is not approved by 62%, while quarter of the respondents cannot evaluate his activities. The Verkhovna Rada as a whole is unlucky most of all: as many as 80% of the poll participants "do not like" our parliament, and about 10% are satisfied now.

Not everything is in order on the party field either. The Servant of the People rating dropped to 28%. This is the number of respondents who are ready to vote for it - among those who have made their choice. At the same time, the Opposition Platform has almost 16% of supporters, European Solidarity - 14%, Batkivshchyna - about 10%. About 4% would support the Radical Party and the Strength and Honor party, about 3% are ready to support the Party of Shariy, Svoboda and Groysman's Ukrainian strategy.

It is interesting that, according to the same Rating agency, at the end of June Servant of the People was supported by 29.3%. Of course, the difference here is within the statistical error, but if the presidential party loses at least one percent of the votes every month, after a couple of years its passage to the next parliamentary convocation will be in question.

As for Zelensky, 56% of those dissatisfied is a serious signal for the head of state. Just two weeks ago, another study came out, which said, however, not about the pleasure of the president's work, but about the trust in him. It turned out that 44% trust the "guarantor", and 49% do not trust - such information was published by the tandem of the Razumkov Center and the Democratic Initiatives fund.

It can be assumed that if now sociologists asked the population about trust in the head of state, further dominance of mistrust would be inevitable. Obviously, the anti-rating of the current president will only grow, which in principle is quite common, say the political analysts we interviewed. It's just that Zelensky also had a hand in ensuring that his immense popularity finally began to fade.

He held on for a long time, but ...

"There are objective factors here," Bogdan Petrenko, deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism, comments for "The level of support for any president always decreases over time, and we must also pay tribute to Zelensky, because he had it for a long time."

Petrenko lists what worked for Zelensky for a long time: “The negotiations in the Normandy format, the return of our prisoners, and also, oddly enough, quarantine played a plus for him. That is, at the beginning of the quarantine, people still liked the "strong hand" performed by the authorities. However, the longer the quarantine lasted, the fewer were satisfied and the more those who believed that a serious blow was dealt to the well-being. And this is understandable, because no economy can withstand such a downtime. Those events that were initially considered acceptable, later contributed to the fall in Zelensky's rating. "

Meanwhile, together with it, the president is pulling his party to the electoral bottom. "Zelensky's political power comes under criticism from two sides at once. On the one hand, it is a target for, let's say, the national-patriotic camp, and on the other, for pro-Russian leaders. And in conditions when the party did not and does not have its own ideology, there is not even a core, it is quite difficult to resist such blows, "the expert says.

Related: Zelensky congratulated military, veterans on Ukraine's Day of Air Force

However, he adds, Servant of the People is very lucky that we have elections in October, and that then the first bills for heating will not come yet. Therefore, I cannot say that the party's rating will fall significantly in the fall. The rating will be at the level of 20%," Petrenko said.

But his colleague Kyrylo Sazonov sees even a certain positive in the fall in Zelensky's rating. Or at least a completely natural thing. "People do not trust the authorities at all, this has always been the case, and this is a normal process. The rating of trust grows over time only somewhere in Russia or North Korea. It is natural that Ukrainians trust primarily the army, volunteers, and now also doctors - the newest heroes of our time. But at the same time Zelensky wins the elections both against Poroshenko and Boyko."

Still the best

The already mentioned poll of the Razumkov Center and the Democratic Initiatives Foundation contains information that in a hypothetical second round (provided that the presidential elections were held right now), Volodymyr Zelensky would defeat any rival who gets the second place.

“I have said more than once that the honeymoon for Zelensky has already dragged on: for the year of his presidency, he already had a higher rating than for the same period of Poroshenko, Yushchenko or Kuchma. Although several factors have recently accelerated his decline - people do not feel the results promised by the president, plus the difficult economic situation multiplied by the coronavirus. But there is no electoral tragedy in such a drop of the rating,"emphasizes Andriy Zolotarev, head of the Third Sector center.

“In the “next Sunday” elections, the expert continues,“ President Zelensky is still winning. And all thanks to the fact that he has a powerful core of voters, which still sees a real “servant of the people” in him. So far, when such a core remains, he can be calm about rating fluctuations. The situation may worsen in the fall, when everything converges at one point - politics, economics, and possible protests."

And if, according to Zolotarev, some voters still believe in Zelensky's "service" to the good of the people, then Bogdan Petrenko points to another secret of the president. “There is a psychological moment,” he comments. “For many, Zelensky played the role of a kind of mirror. The image of Zelensky was so blurred that everyone found in him things that were close to himself. You remember how he said that we are all presidents? And therefore, being disappointed in Zelensky is like being disappointed in yourself. Zelensky will hold his electorate for some time, because no one wants to suddenly take and stop believing in himself. "

In addition, Petrenko says, "It is quite difficult to find an alternative for Zelensky. Why? Because it is quite difficult to propose someone radically different. Because there are politicians here, but there is no ideal."

Autumn as a test

It's really hard to find an alternative for Zelensky, other experts agree. But not because he is so perfect or irreplaceable. And, perhaps, because people from the environment of the head of state look even smaller against his background. Take Dmytro Razumkov, for example. Literally a month or two ago, sociologists recorded quite a decent rating of the head of parliament - so what has changed now?

Zolotarev and Sazonov point out that the speaker's rating is the rating of the entire Verkhovna Rada. "Until recently, it was very high, in fact, perhaps the largest in the last 20 years. When unpopular decisions were made - regarding land, gambling business - people took it negatively," says Zolotarev. And when the popularity of the parliament "fell down", the support of its head immediately fell. After all, Razumkov, as Sazonov emphasizes, "shares the trust / distrust rating with the Verkhovna Rada."

As for the prime minister, Ukrainian history knows three precedents when the head of the government was so popular that he changed the prime minister’s position to presidential one. Kuchma, Yushchenko and Yanukovych have gone this way, but the current head of the Cabinet of Ministers Denys Shmygal is far from such a success. No wonder every fourth respondent was not able to form his own attitude towards him at all.

“People actually cannot understand who Shmygal is. This is not Groysman, who has been actively promoting himself for the last year and has brilliantly solved one strategic task - not to be associated with Poroshenko. And although it was Poroshenko who brought him to this Premier League, he managed to distance himself from the president. And now there is a pretty good attitude to Groysman. Shmygal is a purely technical figure, and this explains a lot," Zolotarev is convinced.

Meanwhile, if we return to Zelensky and his team, the main question is not even what happens now, but what awaits them soon.

“It is impossible to say with certainty that it will only get worse and worse. Everything here will depend on Zelensky himself and on the ‘servants of the people.’ But there are no trends that would suggest that they can change their behavior model or style of government. Zelensky's failure to fulfill his promises led to a drop in the rating, but he does not abandon the policy of a broken word. He is now spoiling relations with all his counterparties. In the West, they are losing trust in him, and the Ukrainian conditional patriotic environment did not have this trust in him", - says Yevgen Bulavka.

According to Sazonov, one factor, first of all, can significantly undermine the confidence in the president and actually multiply it by zero - the policy of the head of state towards Russia and the war unleashed by it. “The rating will be greatly affected by surrender to Russia - in any form. But economic problems will also affect it: I think that the main wave of the crisis after the coronavirus will cover us in October-November. And, in spite of everything, Zelensky maintains leadership positions, "he notes.

“In the minds of many people, Zelensky is still not as discredited as those politicians who have been working in this field for many years,” adds Yevgen Bulavka. “As for me, this is some kind of false logic, but people really do not see an alternative to him. So they will be ready to vote for Zelensky again - on the principle of choosing the lesser of two evils."

Well, at least in this, Ukraine remains stable, because such a principle has been applied in our country for a long time. Another question is whether it was successful.

Related: Zelensky instructs govt to give explanation on conditions of adaptive lockdown

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