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What integration direction should Ukraine choose: referendum concerning joining the Customs Union, the European Union or NATO (May 2015)

Press-release was prepared by Julia Sakhno

From May 19 to May 29, 2015 the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted All–Ukrainian poll. 2022 respondents at the age of 18 years and older living in 108 regions of Ukraine (except for Crimea) according to statistical selection were surveyed by the method of interview.

In Lugansk region surveys were conducted only on the territory controlled by Ukraine. In Donetsk region surveys were conducted in areas controlled by Ukraine and Donetsk (which are uncontrolled by Ukraine).

The statistical error of selection (with probability 0.95 and at design–effect 1.5) doesn't exceed the following: 3,3% for indicators which are close to 50%, 2,8% – for indicators which are close to 25%, 2,0% – for indicators which are close to 10%, 1,4 – for indicators which are close to 5%.


 

1. What integration direction should Ukraine choose: referendum concerning joining the Customs Union, the European Union or NATO?

According to the results of the survey conducted at the end of May 2015, the absolute majority of the Ukrainian population don’t support idea that Ukraine should choose joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan: If the referendum concerning the joining of Ukraine the Customs Union had taken place at the end of May 2015, 58,8% would have voted against the joining, and 18,6% for the joining. The rest 24,7% wouldn't have decided or wouldn’t have taken part in the voting.

So, if all the people, who had made a decision about their choice, had taken part in the referendum concerning the joining of Ukraine the Customs Union, the appearance of them would have made up approximately 75%, and the voting of the participants would have been divided like that: 25% for the joining the Customs Union, 75% - against.

 

Chart 1.1.





The opinion of the Ukrainian population about the relations with Russia and, particularly, the Customs Union membership have changed cardinally after February 2014, and since then opinion has remained constant: if 41% were about to vote for the joining the Customs Union in February 2014, then in December 2014 there were only 18% remained, now (in May 2015) – 19%. The parts of those, who don’t support the idea of joining the Customs Union, haven’t changed for the last half a year (the difference is within a statistical error).

Chart 1.2.





The share of opponents of Ukraine's joining the Customs Union dominates the share of supporters in all regions of Ukraine: in the Western regions of opponents and supporters of joining the Customs Union, respectively, 79% and 5%, in the Central regions – 61% and 14%; in the Southern regions – 46% and 28%; in the Eastern regions 38% and 31%.

Chart 1.3.




According to monitoring during the events Euromaidan (November 2013 – December 2014) there was a significant polarization of opinions concerning joining the Customs Union of the West and Central Ukraine on the one hand, and South and East on the other hand: while in the Western and Central regions the level of supporting the idea concerning joining the Customs Union decreased in the South and in the East – on the contrary, Pro-Russian sentiment increased. However, after the annexation of Crimea and aggression in the East opinions of population of the Southern and Eastern regions has changed significantly. Compared with February 2014, in the East, the share of supporters of Ukraine's joining the Customs Union decreased from 73% to 31%, in the South – from 60% to 28%. Also during the conflict with Russia is approximately twice reduced the number of supporters of the Customs Union in the West (from 10% in February 2014 to 5% in May 2015) and in the Center (from 24% to 14%) of Ukraine.

 

Chart 1.4.







2. What integration direction should Ukraine choose: referendum concerning joining the European Union or NATO?

Pro-European orientations now have been dominating among Ukrainian population. According to the results of the survey conducted at the end of May 2015, if the referendum concerning the joining of Ukraine the European Union had taken place at the end of May 2015, 48,8% would have voted for the joining, 28, 4% – against the joining. The rest 22,9% wouldn't have decided or wouldn’t have taken part in the voting.

So, if all the people, who had made a decision about their choice, had taken part in the referendum concerning the joining of Ukraine the European Union, the appearance of them would have made up approximately 77%, and the voting of the participants would have been divided like that: 63% for the joining the European Union, 37% – against.

 

Chart2.1







During the monitoring the highest level of readiness to vote for the joining the European Union was fixed in December 2014 (53%), following which the pro-European passion was falling down a little: for the last half a year the part of those, who were ready to vote for the joining the European Union, was down by 5 percentage points (from 53% in December 2014 to 49% now), and the part of those, who was against the joining European Union, has increased by the same percentage points (from 24% in February 2014 to 28% at the end of May 2015).

Chart2.2.








As before, the attitude to the idea of the joining the European Union differs significantly in different macro-regions of Ukraine. In the Western regions the absolute majority (78%) are ready to vote for the joining the European Union and 11% – against. In the Centre the population is less willing to vote for the joining the European Union but Pro-European orientations also dominated: in the case of the referendum, 57% of population of the Central regions would vote for, 20% – against. In the South and in the East majority of population are against Ukraine's joining to the European Union if referendum were held, in the Southern regions 40% would vote against, 33% in the Eastern regions 48% – against and 22% – for.

Chart2.3






Over the past six months (from December 2014), supporters of joining the European Union decreased in all regions except the East, in the Western regions the percentage of those who would vote for Ukraine's joining the European Union decreased from 88% to 78% (10 percentage points), in the Center – from 62% to 57% (5 percentage points) in the South – from 38% to 33% (5 percentage points). Only in the East the share of those who would vote for the joining the European Union over the past half a year hasn’t changed and remained at the level of 20% – 22%.

Chart  2.4.

 



3. Referendum on question Ukraine’s accession to NATO.

 

Concerning NATO, Ukrainian population doesn’t have a clear position. If the referendum had taken place at the end of May 2015, 37,4 % would have voted for the Ukraine’s accession to NATO, 35, 6% – against the joining. The rest 27,9% wouldn't have decided or wouldn’t have taken part in the voting.

So, if all the people, who had made a decision about their choice, had taken part in the referendum on question Ukraine’s accession to NATO, the appearance of them would have made up approximately 73%, and the voting of the participants would have been divided like that: 51% for the Ukraine’s accession to NATO, 49%  – against.

 
Chart
3.1.



Compared to the autumn of last year, the level of supporters of NATO has decreased by about 7 percentage points (from 44% in September-October 2014 to the 37% now). However, the share convinced opponents of Ukraine's accession to NATO at this time almost unchanged (in September 2014 there were 38% against Ukraine's accession to NATO, now - 36%, the difference is within the statistical error) but from 18% to 27% increased the share of those who are not convinced about Ukraine's membership in NATO and those who wouldn’t have participated in this referendum.

Chart 3.2.





The attitude to the idea of Ukraine's accession to NATO in different macro-regions of Ukraine differs. Ukraine's accession to NATO support more population of the Western and Central regions: 60% of Ukrainian population in the West are ready to vote  for NATO, in the Center – 42%. However, in Southern and Eastern areas most people are opposed to this idea: in the case of the referendum about Ukraine’s accession to NATO in the South 46% would vote against and 28% would vote for this idea. In the East, respectively, 55% would vote against this idea, 15% – would vote for.

Chart 3.3.





Compared to the autumn of 2014, the level of Ukraine's accession to NATO declined in all regions except the East, for the past seven months (from October 2014 to May 2015) in the Western regions the level of supporting Ukraine's accession to NATO has declined from 73% to 60% (13 percentage points), in the Central – from 51% to 42% (9 percentage points), in the South – from 38% to 28% (10 percentage points). Only in the East of Ukraine the level of support has remained the same (12% – in October, 2014, 12% – in May 2015, difference within the statistical error).

Chart 3.4.



Addition. Tables.

Table 1. «If the referendum concerning the joining of Ukraine the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan was held now, what would be your choice – you would vote for the joining, against or you would abstain from voting?»  %, September  2013 – May 2015.

Answers September 2013 November2013 February2014 December2014 May2014
For the joining 39.9 40.9 40.6 17.5 18.6
Against the joining 33.2 33.1 37.2 58.8 56.8
Abstrain from voting 11.3 8.9 8.7 10.7 12.2
Hard to say 15.6 17.2 13.5 12.9 12.5
Total 100 100 100 100 100

 

able 2. «If the referendum concerning the joining of Ukraine the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan was held now, what would be your choice – you would vote for the joining, against or you would abstain from voting?  %, September  2013 – May 2015», by macro-regions, May 2015.

Answers Western Central Southern Eastern Ukraine,in general
For the joining 4.9 14.2 27.6 30.9 18.6
Against the joining 78.7 60.6 45.8 37.9 56.8
Abstrain from voting 7.0 14.1 10.9 16.6 12.2
Hard to say 9.4 11.1 15.6 14.6 12.5
Total 100 100 100 100 100

Western region: Volyn, Transcarpathian, Ivano-Frankovsk, Lvov, Rivne, Ternopol, Khmelnitsky, Chernovtsy region; Central region: Kiev, Kiev, Vinnitsa, Zhitomir, Kirovograd, Poltava, Sumy, Cherkassy, Chernihiv regions; southern region: Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhe, Nikolayev, Odessa, Kherson region; Eastern region: Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk oblast.

able 3. «If the referendum concerning the joining of Ukraine the European Union was held now, what would be your choice – you would vote for the joining, against or you would abstain from voting?», %, February 2012 – May 2015.

Answers February 2012 September2013 November2013 February2014 December  2014 February 2015 May2015
For the joining 39.7 43.2 39.7 41.8 53.3 50.7 48.8
Against the joining 33.2 30.1 35.1 37.2 23.9 25.7 28.4
Abstrain from voting 6.8 10.3 8.7 8.3 8.6 10.6 10.5
Hard to say 20.3 16.4 16.5 12.7 14.2 13.0 12.4
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

 

Table 4. «If the referendum concerning the joining of Ukraine the European Union was held now, what would be your choice – you would vote for the joining, against or you would abstain from voting?», by macro-regions, May 2015.

Answers Western Central Southern Eastern Ukraine, in general
For the joining 77.5 56.5 32.9 21.7 48.8
Against the joining 11.2 20.1 39.9 47.6 28.4
Abstrain from voting 3.0 11.0 11.5 17.2 10.5
Hard to say 8.3 12.3 15.8 13.5 12.4
Total 100 100 100 100 100

 

Table 5. «If the referendum concerning Ukraine’s accession to NATO was held now, what would be your choice – you would vote for the joining, against or you would abstain from voting?», 2005-2009, 2014-2015 ., %

Answers Dec.
2005
Oct.
2007
Feb.
2008
Sep.
2008
Oct.
2009
Sep.
2014
Oct.
2014
May
2015
For the joining 15.6 18.7 18.3 20.2 17.2 43.9 44.1 37.4
Against the joining 57.2 59.8 62.1 62.6 63.1 37.6 35.2 35.6
Abstrain from voting 8.6 6.1 6.8 6.0 7.5 7.0 -- 10.9
Hard to say 18.6 15.5 12.8 11.2 12.1 11.5 20.7 16.2
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

 

Table 6. «If the referendum concerning Ukraine’s accetion to Nato was held now, what would be your choice – you would vote for the joining, against or you would abstain from voting?», by macro-regions, May 2015.

Answers Western Central Southern Eastern Ukraine, in general
For the joining 59.6 42.2 28.1 14.7 37.4
Against the joining 17.4 29.4 45.7 54.6 35.6
Abstrain from voting 4.0 12.0 9.2 18.7 10.9
Hard to say 18.9 16.4 17.0 12.0 16.2
Total 100 100 100 100 100

 
 
 
Concerning the comments please contact to Julia Sahno: j.sakhno@kiis.com.ua

19.6.2015
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