In professional terms, it sounds like this: "45% of respondents do not welcome Zelensky’s actions and statements, 38% support the president’s actions." A survey on this topic was conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, which the head of state’s supporters immediately accused of being biased. But the fact is that not only the KIIS fixes decline in the popularity of Zelensky.
President in numbers
To complete the story of KIIS, we’ll add a few more of their numbers.
So, if the presidential elections were held in late May - early June, then Zelensky would have received 36.4% of votes. At the end of April 2020 there were 42.6%. Therefore, Zelensky’s rating for the month fell by 6.2%.
The fifth place in electoral support is taken by the fifth president Petro Poroshenko - and he is strengthening his position. At the end of April, 14.9% of voters were ready to vote for him, in late May - early June - 16.8%, which is almost 2% more.
Yuriy Boyko (Opposition Platform – For Life) is third, he added a little less than 1%. In April, his rating was 12.2%, in late May - early June - 13.1%.
The downward trend is recorded in the presidential party "Servant of the people." If at the end of April 32.6% were ready to vote for it, then at the end of May - beginning of June - 28% of them. Compared to April, the Opposition Platform – For Life strengthened its position by 2% - from 15.8% to 17.8%. Poroshenko’s European Solidarity Party increased its rating by 1.5% - from 15.2% to 16.7%. This survey was conducted from May 24 to June 4, 2020.
And now - the data of the Razumkov Center.
According to them, if the elections were held in the near future, 34.6% of Ukrainians would vote for the current president Zelensky. 20% of respondents would vote for co-chair of the Opposition Platform – For Life faction Yuri Boyko, 16.1% would vote for the leader of European Solidarity Petro Poroshenko. Here, as we see, the level of Zelensky’s support is even less than that in KIIS report. And here we see much more supporters of Yuri Boyko.
As for trust / distrust, the second poll also noted the negative balance that the president of Ukraine had. After all, 41% of respondents trust him, 51% do not trust him. Moreover, this survey is more recent than the KIIS one, because its time frame is from June 17 to 24.
And finally, about the picture on the party fields: the “Servant of the People” is now receiving the most support from the voters (20.5% of all respondents, or 30% of those who take part in the elections are ready to vote for it). 14% and 22%, respectively, are ready to vote for the Opposition Platform - For Life, and 10% and 16%, respectively, for European Solidarity.
Everything is predictable
So, as in that meme about cats that wake up their owner and tell her that she needs to get up, because "we dropped everything there," the president and his team also "dropped everything." And even if not all, then a very significant part of their recent support. Together with experts, the 112.ua began searching for answers to three conceptual questions - “who is to blame?”, “what to do?”, and also “why everything happened exactly as it happened?”.
The first thing that we found out together was that the situation looks pretty predictable. “The numbers were not, by and large, surprising,” says Bogdan Petrenko, deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism. “Anyone who is in power is doomed to drop his rating. It even seems to me that in this case it was falling too slowly.”
“Along with that,” the expert adds, “that there are some general trends - for example, Zelensky’s lack of a clear ideology, lack of team, active criticism of his actions both from Poroshenko’s side and from the Opposition Platform – For Life began to take shape and simply raises distrust. And when Zelensky went on quarantine and isolated himself from the problems that took place in the country (at least take a Kyiv house where the gas exploded), it played against him because there was impression that he intentionally avoids the negative and does not want to influence situation."
"A drop in the president’s rating is expected, especially considering that at first the level of support was abnormally high," said Andriy Zolotarev, head of the Third Sector Center.
He explains: “You see, in political science there is such a thing as a “core of a positive image ”, that is, this is the main characteristic for which voters support politics. So, this is the core of a positive image - “he is not like others”- was addressed not to the showman Zelensky, but his film character, teacher Goloborodko, with the full support of this image by the “1 + 1” channel.
“Now people see,” says Zolotarev, “that the system has not changed, but only the face has changed, and therefore the masses of supporters turn their backs on him. When Zelensky begins to do something like Poroshenko, it’s very bad for him. He urgently needs to demonstrate that people were not mistaken in their choice. Otherwise, there will be a collapse in the fall. "
Vadym Karasev, director of the Institute for Global Strategies, agrees: “The first year is the honeymoon of the people with power. During this time, society is waiting for the government to fulfill its hopes. A year has passed, but dreams have not come true, and disappointment appeared. Further come quarantine and the economy difficulties. A blow was struck to small and medium-sized businesses, and remember who used to vote for Zelensky? It was these classes that voted. And the third factor - all his scandals and declarations, these statements are ridiculous and inappropriate."
Scandals, quarantine and unfulfilled promises
There are really enough scandals. "Servant of the people" produces them on an industrial scale. Before the storm on "children of poor quality" had settled down, the very Tretyakova spoiled the public with another statement. About dishonesty of relatives of those killed in the war:
“We have missing people, and we know for sure that the guy or girl died, that they were shot, but we just haven’t reached the burial sites. Accordingly, both parents and relatives know that they died, but they don’t want to state the death of their relatives, even if time has passed and there are court decisions regarding the death of a person. Relatives do not want to, because they get money for it from the state and these are quite large sums," said Tretyakova.
Until now, such things did not leave dirty spots on the white coat of our guarantor. But, obviously, the time has come for him to be dumped in the mud. But it’s not only Tretyakova, who is guilty of reducing Zelensky’s support. In addition to the president’s environment, which does not withstand any criticism, there are other factors that led to deterioration in his perception.
“The downward trend manifested itself immediately after the quarantine measures were over, when people left their homes,” says Ruslan Bortnyk, director of the Ukrainian Institute for Policy Analysis and Management. “The authorities were not very effective in terms of quarantine measures; moreover, they were openly lying. Let’s recall the very Lyashko with his statement on parks, plus no progress on three key issues: peace, prosperity, the fight against corruption. In addition, the government took two steps very unpopular in society - in terms of land reform and cooperation with the IMF. Both of these ideas have anti-ratings of 60, 70 or more percent. "
“The president crossed his Rubicon,” Bortnyk continues, “he stepped over what I call the “critical line of society”, and in such a situation it is difficult to manage the system. What is still interesting in the opinion poll is that the government and parliament ceased to be such a blotter for the president’s rating, because they themselves have huge anti-ratings, distrust of them rolls over, which means that the electoral responsibility lies entirely with the president. "
"But the most important thing now is that the president is losing the core of the electorate. If in the fall he had somewhere around 25% of the people who fully supported him, and somewhere around 40% who partially supported him, now of those who fully support him , 10% is left, that is, the core decreased by 2.5 times. And it’s not random ones who disappear, but people who were completely confident in Zelensky’s policies,” the expert notes.
Elections as a way out
But the nature of the voter is such that it does not disappear without a trace. If the level of love to the one politician decreases, then for another – it accordingly grows. “Now Zelensky is losing the voter due to the departure of the electorate to Shariy’s party. And he, as we see, are very active around social justice issues, which was one of the factors of electoral support for Zelensky. Therefore, if the president’s team doesn’t show at least some results, a further fall is inevitable," argues Andriy Zolotarev.
At the same time, political analyst Yevgen Bulavka notes - our president has too different and heterogeneous voters for all of them to have the same motivation to stop loving their idol. “As there were people with very different views among Zelensky’s voters, the reasons for the decline in his rating are different. But, it seems to me, the whole point is that the number of his bills simply began to turn into quality. And the quarantine played the largest role as well as the next batch of scandals. All this taken together began to turn the situation around," he says.
“I personally see no reason to reverse the fall,” continues Bulavka. “Moreover, the economic crisis, which is talked about so much and which still cannot unfold in all its glory, will come anyway. Because the style of economic management, the extent of theft, orientation on the interests of the oligarchs - all this will result in a drop in living standards and other significant problems. If Zelensky, as a good artist, is able to subtly feel the audience, then he should already think about early presidential elections."
But it seems that the fact that Zelensky can voluntarily resign is an utopia. And he doesn’t have to make himself political hara-kiri to save the situation. There are other methods and solutions.
“In order to prevent a complete collapse, Zelensky can go to early parliamentary elections. Although he would first of all have to stop the opposition activities of his own MPs in the ranks of presidential faction. At first they clearly understood and remembered that they were nobody, but they got into it thanks to Zelensky’s policy. But now they’ve all grown their crowns and decided that they are big statesmen, and everything happened thanks to their personal talents. Under these conditions, events can speed the elections, although this issue has not yet reached the practical plane," notes Zolotarev.
“Yes, early parliamentary elections would also be a way out,” Yevgen Bulavka agrees. “And for all political players. Because they would all welcome the reload of this Rada, which is discredited from all sides. For Zelensky dissolution would also be beneficial because it had lost control of his own faction. The only question is whether he will have the courage to do this. But with or without Zelensky, the situation is leading to a complete reset of power."
The only question is whether the president understands this?