Polling Memo: Presidential midterm: better than yesterday, worse than the day before

Polling Memo: Presidential midterm: better than yesterday, worse than the day before

In June 2013, the share of the respondents who believe that Belarus is on the wrong track, at 45.5%, remained above the proportion of those thinking that things are moving in the right way, at 39.6%. It testifies the findings of the most recent public opinion poll carried out by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS) in June 2013 which are a reflection of the overall picture of the political, economic and social sentiment of the Belarusian population as of the middle of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s current, fifth presidential term.

There is a definite trend towards a gradual narrowing in the share of negative evaluations of the country’s development path. These figures differ a lot from those logged in June 2011, during the first year of Lukashenka’s current presidential term, when more than 60% of the population thought the country was on the wrong track, and only 26% were optimistic about the road that the country had taken.

The same holds for the balance of optimistic and pessimistic expectations of the future. Eighteen per cent of the Belarusians believe that the socioeconomic situation will improve in the 12 months to come (which compares to 12% during the most difficult period—in June 2011—and 30% in March 2011). Twenty-four per cent of the respondents think that the situation will aggravate, the same as in March 2011, whereas in June 2011, their share stood at 55%.

For all that Aliaksandr Lukashenka managed to restore his electoral rating to 40%, which de facto corresponds to his rating at the very start of his current presidential term. This is quite surprising, one reason being that the majority of the respondents agree that Lukashenka failed to effectively deal with the economic crisis: just as in June 2011, about 60% of the respondents said that the country’s economy is in a crisis.

BISS supposes that the increase in the electoral rating cannot be directly attributed to the wage push alone any longer, but should rather be accounted for by the perceived stability, as almost half of the Belarusian population (49%) believes that the economic situation will not change in the next 12 months.

The geopolitical orientations of the population achieved a balance in June 2013 with 41% of the Belarusians supporting Russia and the European Union each when asked to select only one of the two international integration options. BISS believes this situation to be predictable, because the perceived stability reinforces this distribution, whereas economic disturbances and growing demand for reforms encourage the pro-EU choice.

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