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Readiness for territorial concessions to end the war as soon as possible: the results of a telephone survey conducted on May 13-18, 2022

Press release prepared by KIIS Deputy Director Anton Hrushetskyi


On May 13-18, 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion poll "Omnibus". By the method of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile telephone numbers (with random generation of telephone numbers and subsequent statistical weighing) were interviewed 2,000 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR of Crimea). The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who at the time of the survey lived in Ukraine (within the limits controlled by the Ukrainian authorities until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories that were temporarily not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities until February 24, 2022 (AR of Crimea, Sevastopol, some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions), and the survey was not conducted with citizens who went abroad after February 24, 2022.

Formally, under normal circumstances, the statistical error of such a sample (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) did not exceed 2.4% for indicators close to 50%, 2.1% for indicators close to 25%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.1% - for indicators close to 5%. Under the conditions of the war, in addition to this formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added, but the results obtained still remain highly representative and allow a fairly reliable analysis of public moods. Please see below for additional comments on the factors that influence the conduct of opinion polls in the military conditions.


Readiness to make territorial concessions


An editorial was recently published in the New York Times, in which, in particular, one could see a call for "territorial concessions" on the part of Ukraine. A few months before the full-scale invasion, KIIS staff had a number of conversations with representatives of Western media, and we can note that there was often a deep misunderstanding of the realities of Ukraine and Ukrainians, despite a number of reliable polls (which continued in the form of "Kyiv will fall in 3 days" and other similar "expert" considerations by Western "specialists").

In a recent poll, we generally asked about the readiness of territorial concessions to achieve peace. As can be seen, for 82% of respondents no territorial concessions are allowed. Only 10% believe that some territories can be abandoned in order to achieve peace and preserve independence.


Graph 1. Which of these statements about possible compromises for peace with Russia do you agree with to a greater extent?




In all regions of Ukraine, the majority of the population is against any territorial concessions. Even in the East, which is currently experiencing intense fighting, 68% oppose concessions (only 19% are ready to make concessions), and 83% oppose concessions in the South (only 9% are ready).


Graph2. Readiness for territorial concessions in the regional dimension



It is also important to see that among the respondents currently living in the occupied territories, 77% are against any territorial concessions (18% are ready to make concessions). At the same time, among those who left the occupied territories after February 24, 2022, 82% oppose any concessions (support concessions - only 5%).


Graph3. Readiness to make territorial concessions depending on where the respondent currently lives



A. Hrushetskyi. Methodical comments on the representativeness of telephone surveys conducted during the war.

 Even before the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, there were a number of factors that negatively affected the representativeness of the polls (for example, the lack of a census for more than 20 years). Full-scale war, of course, greatly affects the representativeness and complicates the work of sociologists, but does not make it impossible. Access to reliable data on the state of mood in society remains relevant both for Ukrainians themselves and for our foreign partners (who, as events of the last 3 months have shown, often underestimated and misunderstood Ukraine and Ukrainians).

At the same time, in order to maintain objectivity, it is necessary to understand the limitations of the war on the conduct of opinion polls. First of all, we pay attention to large-scale population movements. Before the start of the field phase, according to the UN, it was estimated that about 6 million Ukrainians - adults and children - left Ukraine. There are no exact figures on how many of them are adults, but it is likely to be about half. Accordingly, among about 30 million adult citizens (estimated at the time of the full-scale invasion), about 10% have gone abroad, and it is not possible to provide a reliable survey of these citizens by telephone interviews. Even more citizens have become internally displaced persons, but they have a much lower impact on the quality of telephone surveys, as almost all of them have mobile phones and are eligible to participate in the survey (in fact, 15% of respondents are IDPs).

Another important issue is the reachability for surveying population of the territories occupied after February 24, 2022, due to the intensification of hostilities or telephone interruptions. Experience of conducting survey shows that most of the occupied territories have the technical ability to contact and interview residents (of course, if they feel safe). In total, 4% of respondents at the time of the interview lived in the occupied territories (and another 3% lived until February 24, 2022 in the settlements that were occupied, but left them for the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities). In the case of territories with active hostilities, they cover a small percentage of the total population of Ukraine (although we can not forget the tragic situation in which these people found themselves). In addition, a significant part of the population of the occupied territories and territories with hostilities, moved to safer places in the territory controlled by the authorities of Ukraine (or abroad). Accordingly, most likely, no more than 1-2% of the adult population of Ukraine are unreachable for the survey due to these factors.

In our opinion, a more significant impact on representativeness may have either a lower willingness to participate in polls of citizens with "pro-Russian" moods, or the insincerity of those who still took part in the poll (given the obvious facts and prevailing views in the media about the Russian invasion , some citizens "publicly" do not want to say what they really think). If we talk about the general willingness of respondents to participate in the survey, in recent surveys we see either the same indicators or slightly lower (although it should be borne in mind that lower willingness to participate in "pro-Russian" set up citizens may be offset by higher willingness to participate in "pro-Ukrainian" set up citizens).

We conducted a small methodological experiment, which shows that the citizens who are currently participating in the polls on demographic characteristics and meaningful moods are close to those who participated in the polls before February 24, 2022. Previously, we see some shift towards "pro-Ukrainian" set up citizens, which affects up to 4-6% deviations for separate questions (towards more frequent selection of answers that correspond to the "pro-Ukrainian" interpretation of events). In our opinion, this is a very optimistic indicator in the current conditions. However, this experiment does not answer how sincere the respondents are in their answers now.

Given our own observations and experience of conducting surveys over the years, we still remain optimistic that most respondents answer questions sincerely. In addition, we assume that the demographic categories of citizens who have gone abroad and are inaccessible for telephone interviews, at least now, do not differ significantly in a number of meaningful moods from similar demographic categories of citizens who remained in Ukraine.

As a result, in our opinion, we should talk about some decrease in representativeness and increase in error (in addition to the previously mentioned formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added due to the above factors), but the results still remain highly representative and allow to analyze public moods of  population.



Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire


Which of these statements about possible compromises for peace with Russia do you agree with to a greater extent? RANDOMIZATION OF READING

 (% among all respondents)

100% in the column Region: where lived until February 24, 2022 Ukraine as a whole West[1] Center South East
Ukraine can relinquish some of its territories in order to achieve peace as soon as possible and preserve its independence 10 8 9 9 19
Under no circumstances should Ukraine relinquish any of its territories, even if this prolongs the war and threatens to preserve its independence. 82 84 85 83 68


[1] The composition of macroregions is as follows: Western macroregion - Volyn, Rivne, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Zakarpattia, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi regions; Central macroregion - Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Chernihiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Kyiv regions, Kyiv city, Southern macroregion - Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa regions, Eastern macroregion - Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions.

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