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Which direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take: European Union, Customs Union (December 2015)

Press release prepared by Yulia Sakhno.

In a period of December 4-14, 2015 Kyiv International Institute of Sociology has conducted nationwide public opinion poll. Data were collected from 2022 respondents living in 110 settlements (PSU) in all regions of Ukraine (except the AR of Crimea) through personal interviews. Sample is stochastic and representative for the population of Ukraine aged 18 and above.

In Luhansk region survey was conducted only on the territories controlled by Ukraine. In Donetsk region survey was conducted both on territories that are and that are not controlled by Ukraine.

The statistical sample error (with probability of 0.95 and design–effect of 1.5) does not exceed: 3.3% for indicators close to 50%, 2.8% – for indicators close to 25%, 2.0% – for indicators close to 10%, 1.4% – for indicators close to 5%, 0.7% - for indicators close to 1 or 99%.

 

Attitudes of the population of Ukraine to the idea of Ukraine joining the European Union

Vast majority of Ukrainians support the idea of joining the European Union. According to data of research conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, if referendum on whether Ukraine needs to join EU had taken place in December, 2015, 53% of Ukrainians would have voted for Ukraine joining the EU, 23% would have been against, 24% have not decided yet or would not have participated in voting.

If those who have not decided how to vote, as usual, had not come to referendum on Ukraine`s integration with the EU, about 76% of all who have the right to vote would have come to make a choice. Distribution would have been as follows (actually, these indicators are the closest to possible results of referendum if it had been held in the beginning of December in 2015): for EU membership – 70%, against – 30%.


 

During the year 2015 percentage of those who want to vote for joining the European Union was ranging from 46% (September 2015) to 53% (December 2015), and on average, with annual data combined, was 49.6% what is not statistically significantly different from the data of the poll held in December 2014 (53.3%, difference is within statistical error). Thus, despite some ranging, the willingness of residents to vote for Ukraine's accession to the European Union has not changed over the past year.



* Surveys have not been conducted in AR of Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea.

 

As it was before, the attitude to the idea of joining the European Union differs substantially in different macro regions of Ukraine. If referendum on Ukraine`s joining the European Union had been held in December, 2015, in Western region 78% would have voted for the integration, in Central - 58%, in South - 41%, in Eastern - 29%.

Western region: Volyns`ka, Zakarpats`ka, Ivano-Frankivs`ka, Lvivs`ka, Rivnens`ka, Ternopils`ka, Khmel`nytska, Chernivets`ka oblast`; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vynnyts`ka, Zhytomyrs`ka, Kirovograds`ka, Poltavs`ka, Sums`ka, Cherkas`ka, Chernihivs`ka oblast`; South region: Dnipropetrovs`ka, Zaporiz`ka, Mykolaivs`ka, Odes`ka, Khersons`ka oblast`; Eastern region: Kharkivs`ka, Donets`ka, Luhans`ka oblast`.

Attitudes of the population of Ukraine to the idea of Ukraine joining the Customs Union

The idea of Ukraine joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan does not have great support amongst the citizens of Ukraine. If referendum on whether Ukraine should join the Customs Union had been held in December, 2015, 17% of population of Ukraine would have been voted for Ukraine joining the Customs Union, 57% would have been against, 26% have not decided yet or would not have participated in referendum.

If those who have not decided how to vote, as usual, had not come to referendum on Ukraine`s integration with the Customs Union, about 73% of those who have a right to vote would have been participated. Distribution of votes would have been as follows (actually, these indicators are the closest to possible results of referendum if it had been held in the beginning of December, 2015): 23% - for membership in the Customs Union, 77% - against.

 

Attitude to the integration with the Customs Union has not changed over the past 12 month: 18% were ready to vote for joining the Customs Union in December, 2014, now (December, 2015) it is 17% (difference is within statistical error).


 

* Surveys have not been conducted in AR of Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea.

 

 By macro regions: s in December, 2015 5% would have voted for joining the Customs Union in Western and Central regions, 29% - in South region, 33% - in Eastern.



Western region: Volyns`ka, Zakarpats`ka, Ivano-Frankivs`ka, Lvivs`ka, Rivnens`ka, Ternopils`ka, Khmel`nytska, Chernivets`ka oblast`; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vynnyts`ka, Zhytomyrs`ka, Kirovograds`ka, Poltavs`ka, Sums`ka, Cherkas`ka, Chernihivs`ka oblast`; South region: Dnipropetrovs`ka, Zaporiz`ka, Mykolaivs`ka, Odes`ka, Khersons`ka oblast`; Eastern region: Kharkivs`ka, Donets`ka, Luhans`ka oblast`.

 

Desired direction of integration

In addition to questions about a hypothetical referendum on joining the EU and the Customs Union, respondents were asked which direction of integration they believe to be more desirable for Ukraine.

Overall, in December, 2015, giving their opinion on which direction of foreign policy Ukraine should choose, the majority (52%) of respondents named joining the EU as a preferable direction, and 15% believe that Ukraine should follow the direction of joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. In addition, 21% are against both the EU and the Customs Union, and believe that Ukraine should develop independently, without joining any of these associations.

Comparing to September, 2015, the percentage of those who choose the neutral direction (against both the EU and the Customs Union) decreased from 27% to 21%, while the percentage of those who prefer European direction increased from 44% to 52%. Share of those who support union with the Customs Union has not changed during that time (17% - in September, 2015, 15% - in December, 2015, the difference is within statistical error).


 

* In February 2015 the question was formulated as follows: “Which direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take? – Joining the European Union, joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, or joining neither the EU nor the Customs Union”. Surveys have not been conducted in AR of Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea.

 

By macro regions. Pro-European sentiments still prevail in Western and Central macro regions: 78% and 58%, respectively, support the idea of joining the EU. The share of supporters of integration with the EU also dominates in South macro region (39%), and yet significantly many respondents prefer alliance with Russia (23%) or not joining any of the organizations (26%). In the East, the majority (34%) believe that desired direction of integration is joining the Customs Union, 27% - neither the EU nor the Customs Union, and 27% - for EU integration.

 

Western region: Volyns`ka, Zakarpats`ka, Ivano-Frankivs`ka, Lvivs`ka, Rivnens`ka, Ternopils`ka, Khmel`nytska, Chernivets`ka oblast`; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vynnyts`ka, Zhytomyrs`ka, Kirovograds`ka, Poltavs`ka, Sums`ka, Cherkas`ka, Chernihivs`ka oblast`; South region: Dnipropetrovs`ka, Zaporiz`ka, Mykolaivs`ka, Odes`ka, Khersons`ka oblast`; Eastern region: Kharkivs`ka, Donets`ka, Luhans`ka oblast`.

 

ADDITION


Table 1. “Imagine, please, that now there is a referendum on whether Ukraine should join the European Union. You may vote for joining, against joining or choose not to participate in voting. What is your choice?”, %, December 2014 – December 2015

  Dec. 2014 Feb. 2015 May. 2015 Sep. 2015 Dec. 2015
For joining 53.3 50.7 48.8 46.3 52.7
Against joining 23.9 25.7 28.4 30.4 23.1
Would not participate in voting 8.6 10.6 10.5 10.9 11.1
Difficult to say 14.2 13.0 12.4 12.4 13.1
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

Surveys have not been conducted in AR of Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea.

Table 2. “Imagine, please, that now there is a referendum on whether Ukraine should join the European Union. You may vote for joining, against joining or choose not to participate in voting. What is your choice?”, by macro regions, December 2015

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE IN GENERAL
For joining 78.1 58.1 40.9 28.7 52.7
Against joining 10.0 15.7 35.5 35.5 23.1
Not to participate in voting 4.4 8.5 11.0 22.8 11.1
Difficult to say 7.5 17.8 12.5 13.1 13.1
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

Western region: Volyns`ka, Zakarpats`ka, Ivano-Frankivs`ka, Lvivs`ka, Rivnens`ka, Ternopils`ka, Khmel`nytska, Chernivets`ka oblast`; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vynnyts`ka, Zhytomyrs`ka, Kirovograds`ka, Poltavs`ka, Sums`ka, Cherkas`ka, Chernihivs`ka oblast`; South region: Dnipropetrovs`ka, Zaporiz`ka, Mykolaivs`ka, Odes`ka, Khersons`ka oblast`; Eastern region: Kharkivs`ka, Donets`ka, Luhans`ka oblast`.

 

Table 3. “If now there was a referendum on whether Ukraine should join the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, how would you vote - for joining the union, against joining or choose not to participate in voting?”, %, December 2014 – December 2015

  Dec.14 May.15 Sep.15 Dec.15
For joining 17.5 18.6 18.5 16.6
Against joining 58.8 56.8 57.6 56.8
Not to participate in voting 10.7 12.2 12.1 12.5
Difficult to say 12.9 12.5 11.8 14.1
TOTAL 100 100 100 100

Surveys have not been conducted in AR of Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea.

 

Table 4. “If now there was a referendum on whether Ukraine should join the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, how would you vote - for joining the union, against joining or choose not to participate in voting?”, by macro regions, December 2015

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE IN GENERAL
For joining 5.2 5.2 29.4 32.9 16.6
Against joining 74.6 66.0 48.9 31.5 56.8
Not to participate in voting 9.4 10.3 9.4 22.6 12.5
Difficult to say 10.8 18.5 12.4 13.0 14.1
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

Western region: Volyns`ka, Zakarpats`ka, Ivano-Frankivs`ka, Lvivs`ka, Rivnens`ka, Ternopils`ka, Khmel`nytska, Chernivets`ka oblast`; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vynnyts`ka, Zhytomyrs`ka, Kirovograds`ka, Poltavs`ka, Sums`ka, Cherkas`ka, Chernihivs`ka oblast`; South region: Dnipropetrovs`ka, Zaporiz`ka, Mykolaivs`ka, Odes`ka, Khersons`ka oblast`; Eastern region: Kharkivs`ka, Donets`ka, Luhans`ka oblast`.

 

Table 5. “In your opinion, which direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take –“, %, February 2015 – December 2015*

  Feb.2015 Sep.2015 Dec.2015
Joining the European Union 47.2 44.1 52.0
joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia 12.3 17.3 14.6
Joining neither the European Union nor the Customs Union 27.3 27.5 21.3
Difficult to say 13.1 11.1 12.0
TOTAL 100 100 100

*In February 2015 the question was formulated as follows: “Which direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take? – Joining the European Union, joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, or joining neither the EU nor the Customs Union”. Surveys have not been conducted in AR of Crimea since March 2014, data are presented for Ukraine without AR of Crimea.

Table 6. “In your opinion, which direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take?”, by macro regions, %, December 2015

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE IN GENERAL
Joining the European Union 78.1 58.3 39.1 26.9 52.0
joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia 4.2 3.5 23.0 34.1 14.6
Joining neither the European Union nor the Customs Union 10.1 23.1 25.6 27.0 21.3
Difficult to say 7.6 15.2 12.3 12.1 12.0
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

Western region: Volyns`ka, Zakarpats`ka, Ivano-Frankivs`ka, Lvivs`ka, Rivnens`ka, Ternopils`ka, Khmel`nytska, Chernivets`ka oblast`; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vynnyts`ka, Zhytomyrs`ka, Kirovograds`ka, Poltavs`ka, Sums`ka, Cherkas`ka, Chernihivs`ka oblast`; South region: Dnipropetrovs`ka, Zaporiz`ka, Mykolaivs`ka, Odes`ka, Khersons`ka oblast`; Eastern region: Kharkivs`ka, Donets`ka, Luhans`ka oblast`.

 

Survey data and other materials of research are available on the website of National data bank ( ̲ 2015/12) or on request via e-mail j.sakhno@kiis.com.ua.

For details please contact Yulia Sakhno: j.sakhno@kiis.com.ua

 


27.1.2016
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