Ukrainian voters believe that either Petro Poroshenko or Yuliya Tymoshenko will win the next presidential elections. Other candidates, although some of them have high ratings, are not considered to be serious contenders. This is the key outtake from the results of the public opinion poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, Razumkov Centre and ‘Rating’ Sociological Group.
Latest results of Yuliya Tymoshenko reveal contradictory trends. Her level of support among all voters has decreased a bit. According to 1 November poll, Tymoshenko had 13.4 percent of support among all voters whereas the latest survey indicates that her rating fell to 12.7 percent. However, among those who is going to vote and decided whom to vote for her popularity rose slightly to 20.7 percent.
The second place is occupied by Volodymyr Zelenskyi, popular comedian and leader of ‘Kvartal 95’ comedy group. He has 7.6 percent of support among all voters and 11.4 percent – among those who is going to vote and decided whom to vote for. Acting President Petro Poroshenko holds the third place with 6.3 and 10.3 percent, respectively.
However, Ukrainians believe that Petro Poroshenko and Yuliya Tymoshenko will be the main contenders. Despite relatively high popularity of Zelenskyi, among those who is going to vote 20.1 percent believe that the elections will be won by Tymoshenko and 13.9 percent – by Poroshenko. Only 3.9 percent believe that Zelenskyi will win the elections and other candidates have even lower figures.
The press release presenting the poll results says that ‘every fifth Ukrainian voter believes that Tymoshenko will be the next president. 14 percent of those willing to vote believe that Poroshenko will win. Less than 4 percent believe that any other contestant will capture the presidential office.’
Even high rating of showman Volodymyr Zelenskyi has not persuaded the voters that he could really win the elections. He has not even declared his intention to participate in the elections, nor he has published his program or given any interviews. The only hint is the appearance of the billboards promoting the movie “Servant of the People” where he plays the role of the President of Ukraine. However, it is not known yet whether he will run for president. What is known is that his political career is a political technology of Ihor Kolomoyskyi.
There have been some information indicating that he is indeed preparing for the elections. He has been secretly meeting political consultants and supposedly is going to lean on “UKROP” party staff. Currently, “UKROP” is being reorganized due to its founders Borys Filatov and Henadiy Korban leaving oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi that supported this political force. Those who are willing to keep ties with Kolomoyskyi are inclined to support Zelenskyi. Yet, this party has only two MPs and small representation in regional councils, failing to become a potent national force.
LIGA information agency points to significant image problems of the comedian: ‘One political consultant told LIGA.net off the record that Zelenskyi’s problem is not related to protracted decision making, as is the case with Vakarchuk, but has to do with the complicated task required by the client. It is quite hard to transform the comedian into a respected and effective state manager. Many are willing to consult him, but very few know how to achieve the stated goal.’
Meanwhile, satiric collage mocking Zelenskyi’s high rating appeared on the web stating ‘If Zelenskyi is your president, then Okhlobystin is your doctor.’ Ivan Okhlobystin is a Russian actor who plays a doctor in the popular Russian TV show and an outspoken Russian chauvinist.
Although Tymoshenko is projecting confidence, her standings are not as good as they could have been. With such early start and so many resources spent, she is only slightly more than 6 percent ahead of President Poroshenko. Consider also that he has not even started his campaign yet and only placed limited advertisement.
Meanwhile, Tymoshenko has already conducted three large forums presenting her ‘New Course’ and her advertisement has penetrated every corner of the country, including small villages. According to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, her ‘Batkivshchyna’ party spent approximately 100 mln hryvnias on promotion of the ‘New Course.’ All other candidates spent several times less and some did not even start campaigning.
Why such gigantic spending did not make Tymoshenko an indisputable favorite of the elections? Political expert Oleksandr Leonov believes that ‘Yuliya’s Tymoshenko program on Ukraine’s new course is very vague while her billboards about joining NATO and the EU alienated pro-Russian part of her electorate. Furthermore, initiative to speed up the integration to the EU and NATO was effectively seized by Petro Poroshenko who proposed adopting specific changes to the Constitution. Yuliya Tymoshenko de facto shoot herself in the foot, since she was forced to support the President’s initiative and take the secondary role.’
Before the planned decision to raise gas prices, many had foreseen collapse of the President’s popularity, but this did not happen. According to political expert Volodymyr Fesenko, ‘this is good news for Poroshenko, as his rating did not fell after increase of gas prices. His negative rating did not change either.’
Tymoshenko has exhausted her technological opportunities. After three presentations of her ‘New Course,’ she could only repeat what have already been said and react to ongoing events. Meanwhile, Petro Poroshenko, her main opponent, has not even started his election campaign. When he enters the game, the ratings may change significantly.