Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Even USAID Partners can’t cover-up the stench coming out of Ukraine - by NoBC4U

Poll by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, partially funded by USAID. It took them over two weeks to release the results of their polling and another week before I came across this. As of today, there is no newer poll at this site, so we must make do with this.

Let's take a look at the latest public opinion polling coming out of Ukraine, and let's see if we can make some sense of the situation in the country. This particular poll occurred beginning September 5 and ended September 13. So keep in mind that this poll began around the time the ceasefire in Donbass was signed but before it was fully (or partially) implemented.

While there is certainly some good news for the Kiev junta in this public opinion poll, there's certainly a lot of news that certainly cannot be classified as good, no matter how hard you try to spin it. But let's also talk for a minute about the poll and its methodology.

Most of their opinions in this poll specifically the answers, can be broken down to, getting better, getting worse, or don't know, no response. I think that this, in and of itself, can be quite misleading, especially in the east and south of the country. There, it is well known what the Nazi Right Sector group is capable of. So it certainly wouldn't surprise me if the polling results in this part of the country, though already tending toward the negative, are showing a higher level of positive answers because “who knows”? Who are these people asking me these questions? Are they tracking me? Are they trying to determine if I am a separatist? Are these nice friendly pollsters actually Svoboda or Right Sector? These thoughts had to come into mind for many people where these groups are currently active, notably the Odessa, Mariupol, and Kharkiv regions. Having said all of this, let's analyze a bit what the polls may be telling us.

The first question is definitely a biggie. What direction is Ukraine headed? It's no surprise that further east and south you go, you get a much greater number of people saying the country is going in the wrong direction. But in a bit of a surprise, it's not the West of the country that shows the greatest positive response, it's the Kiev region that tops the list at 49% believing the country is going in the right direction. West Ukraine can only muster 42%.

When asked is the overall situation in the country better or worse than six months ago, nationwide, a whopping 81% said it was the same or worse. It's next to impossible to find anything positive to say about that result.

When asked about certain socio-political situations, here are the combined percentages of those that replied no change, got worse, or didn't know.

Unity of Ukrainian citizens: 55%
Respect for citizens rights by authorities: 69%
Maintenance of law and order: 75%
Political stability in the country: 77%
Fight against corruption: 91%
Economic situation in the country: 93%

These are devastating results, no matter how you look at them.

People next were polled about president Poroshenkko’s performance. The president generally polled well in the area of addressing status of Ukraine and the EU and, rather mysteriously, respecting the rights and freedoms of media. From there it's all downhill. His positives fall under 40% regarding taking steps to increase Ukraine's energy independence, bridging the regional divide in Ukraine, and creating political stability. Areas of the polls under 20% positive include addressing the situation in Donetsk and Lugansk, limiting the influence of big business and oligarchs on state authorities, and addressing official corruption. Areas where he polled under 10% positive involved keeping prices low and creating jobs. Now some might say you have to give the new president time, he's only been in office less than five months. But there's no indication that anything is going to start to go all positive anytime soon.

The next question asked how much confidence do you have any particular political leaders. Only two got a greater than 50% positive response. They are Petro Poroshenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Those who poll > 25% but less than 50% include Oleg Lyashko, Vitali Klitschko, Oleh Tyanybok, Tetyana Chornovol, and Arsen Avakov. Those who fall at 25% or below include Dmytry Yarosh, Yulia Tymoshenko, Serhei Tygypko, Igor Kolomoisky, Petro Simonenko, and the one trailing them all, Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukrainians do seem to have more confidence in certain political institutions however, though I would have to add that I believe their confidence is sorely misplaced in some of these. Institutions they rate positive include the military, Ukrainian media, the volunteer battalions (the neo-Nazi private armies), local mayors, and village councils. Those that fall under 50% positive include the Maidan movement, the Central Election Commission, western media, the Cabinet of Ministers, the local administrators, Oblast governors, and Ukrainian police. Those garnering under 20% positive include the Verhovna Rada (parliament) and Russian media.

Concerning the question as to whether the elections would be fair or flawed, all regions except the East thought that they would be at least reasonably free and fair. When questioned about whether Ukraine is a democracy, no region polled over 50%. Yet one of the possible answers to this question was both. Presumably meaning that yes Ukraine is a democracy and no Ukraine is not a democracy, both at the same time. I have no clue as to what the pollsters were thinking when they allowed an option like that. Yet overall, the general perception of 39% seems to be yes, Ukraine is a democracy, while 28% state no, Ukraine is not a democracy. When asked does the government represent all regions and all people of Ukraine, all regions except the east and south tended to think, yes.

Regarding attitudes about the use of force in Donetsk and Lugansk, amazingly both the Kiev region and Western Ukraine said not enough force was used. Also amazingly, 39% or more of the respondents in the center of the country, the south of the country, and the East, (not including Donbass), felt the same way. And when asked how to resolve the situation in the east of Ukraine, the majority in West Ukraine and in the Kiev region believe more military action is needed.

The full poll results, including questions about the view of separatists, NATO membership, and Ukraine’s foreign policy orientation can be found at the link below…

Public Opinion in Ukraine, September 2014

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