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Geopolitical orientations of the residents of Ukraine: September 2017

Press release by Yulia Sakhno

Major results:

-        Most of Ukraine's residents support Ukraine's accession to the EU, and compared to May 2017, the readiness of the population to vote for Ukraine's accession to the EU has increased: if the referendum on EU membership had been held in September 2017, 77% of votes would have been given for the accession, 23% - against.

-        Ukraine's accession to the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan is not supported by the majority of the population: if the referendum on accession to the Customs Union had been held in September 2017, 22% would vote for joining the Customs Union, 78% - against. The attitude to the integration with the Customs Union has remained virtually unchanged over the last three years.

-        In the referendum on joining NATO votes would be distributed as follows: 62% - for Ukraine's accession to NATO, 38% - against. Compared to May of this year, the share of people who are ready to vote for Ukraine's accession to NATO has slightly increased.

-        Asked about the desired direction of foreign policy, 53% of those polled voted for Ukraine's accession to the EU, 11% - for joining the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia, while 24% believe that Ukraine should develop independently without entering any of these associations. Compared to the beginning of the year, the support for the pro-European course has increased slightly, while the percentage of those who do not want either the accession to the EU or the Customs Union, neither joining the Customs Union has decreased.

On September 16 – October 1, 2017, Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted an all-Ukrainian public opinion poll. Data were collected from 2040 respondents living in 108 settlements (PSU) in all oblasts of Ukraine (except for the AR of Crimea) with the method of personal interviewing. The sample was stochastic and is representative of the population of Ukraine aged 18 and above.

In Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts survey was conducted only in the territories that are controlled by the Ukrainian government.

The statistical sampling error (with a probability of 0.95 and for a design effect of 1.5) does not exceed:

3.3% — for indexes close to 50%,

2.8% — for indexes close to 25%,

2.0% — for indexes close to 10%,

1.4% — for indexes close to 5%.

 

Attitude of the residents of Ukraine to Ukraine`s accession to the EU

According to a survey conducted by Kiev International Institute of Sociology, as of September 2017, Ukraine's accession to the EU was supported by more than half of the population of Ukraine[1]: as a response to the question about the referendum on whether Ukraine should join the European Union, 57% indicated that they would vote for Ukraine's accession to the EU, 17% - against, and the remaining 25% - were undecided on this matter or would not participate in the vote.

If those who had not decided how to vote yet, had not, as usual, come to a referendum on joining the EU, 75% of those who have a right to vote and live in the territories that are controlled by the government of Ukraine would have participated. Their votes would have been distributed in the following way (in fact, it is these indicators that are closest to the possible results of the referendum if it was held in September 2017[2]): for accession to the EU - 77% of votes, against - 23%.



[1] Residents of Ukraine without the temporary occupied territories (AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

[2] Since in this question and in the questions below we do not ask for a vote on next Sunday, asking instead to say how the respondent would vote if the referendum is held right now, the polling itself is a kind of imitation of the referendum. Therefore, the answer “difficult to say" in fact means non-participation in the referendum.


 

 

Compared to the beginning of the year, support for the idea of Ukraine's accession to the EU keeps on spreading among the population: if in February 2017 49% of the population were ready to vote for EU membership, then in May of this year - 53%, in September - 57%; the proportion of opponents of joining the EU in this period decreased from 28% to 17%. The possible reason for the increase in the readiness of the population to vote for the EU is the introduction of a visa-free regime, which might have had a positive impact on the attitudes and trust to the EU.

 

 

As before, the attitude to the issue of Ukraine's accession to the EU varies considerably depending on the region, however, the percentage of those who vote for the accession is bigger than the percentage of those who are against in all regions:

  • in Western oblasts 76% of the population are ready to vote for the accession to the EU, 5% - against, 19% - undecided;

  • in Central regions 60% of the residents would have voted for, 15% - against, 25% - undecided;

  • in South oblasts 42% of the population are ready to vote for the accession to the EU, 26% - against, 32% - undecided;

  • in the East of the country 39% of the residents would have voted for, 33% - against, 28% - undecided.


 

 

Western region:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South region: Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern region:  Kharkivska, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (without the temporarily occupied territories).

 

Attitude of the residents of Ukraine to Ukraine`s joining the Customs Union

The idea of Ukraine's accession to the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan does not have much support among the Ukrainians: if a referendum on whether Ukraine should enter the Customs Union has been held in September 2017, 15% of the residents of Ukraine would have voted for Ukraine's accession to the Customs Union, 55% - against joining the Customs Union, and 30% - had not decided yet or would not have participated in such a referendum.

If those who had not decided how to vote yet, had not, as usual, come to a referendum on joining the Customs Union, 70% of those who have a right to vote and live in the territories that are controlled by the government of Ukraine would have participated. Their votes would have been distributed in the following way (in fact, it is these indicators that are closest to the possible results of the referendum if it was held in September 2017): for accession to the Customs Union - 20% of votes, against - 78%.


 

 

The attitude to the integration with the Customs Union has remained virtually unchanged over the past three years: in December 2014, about 17% of the Ukrainians were ready to vote for joining the Customs Union, now (in September 2017) - 15% (the difference lies within the statistical error).

 

 

The accession of Ukraine to the Customs Union has somewhat bigger support among the residents of the Eastern and Southern regions, however, in all regions the percentage of adherents of Ukraine's accession to the Customs Union is significantly lower than the share of opponents:

  • in the Western region, 6% support Ukraine`s joining the Customs Union, 74% - go against, 20% - had not decided yet;

  • in the Central region, 12% - for, 58% - against, 30% - undecided;

  • in the South region, 23% - for, 38% - against, 38% - undecided;

  • in the Eastern region, 28% - for, 39% - against, 33% - undecided.


 

 

Western region:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South region: Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern region:  Kharkivska, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (without the temporarily occupied territories).

 

Desired direction of foreign policy

In addition to the question of possible actions in case of a referendum on the EU or the Customs Union membership, respondents were asked to answer which foreign policy they generally consider to be the most fruitful for Ukraine.

According to the poll conducted in September 2017, Ukraine's accession to the EU remains the preferable direction of foreign policy for the majority (53%) of the residents. The course for joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia is considered to be a good one by 11% of the Ukrainians. A significant part (24%) is still opposed both to the EU and the Customs Union and believes that Ukraine should develop independently without joining any of these associations.


 

 

Compared to February 2017, the support for the pro-European course increased from 47% to 53%. The proportion of those who advocated a non-alignment neither to the EU nor to the Customs Union declined from 28% to 24%, while those who supported joining the Customs Union - from 14% to 11%. In general, the opinion of the population about the desired course of foreign policy has remained virtually unchanged for the past two and a half years: the majority of the population support the course of joining the EU, followed by the prevalence of an idea of non-alignment neither to the EU nor to the Customs Union, and the least popular option is the accession to the Customs Union.

 

 

Thoughts about the desired direction of foreign policy differ significantly depending on the region:

  • in the Western oblasts, vast majority (74%) support the accession to the EU, 16% - joining neither of the unions, 1% - joining the Customs Union;

  • in the Central oblasts, the majority (57%) support the accession to the EU, 24% - joining neither of the unions, 8% - joining the Customs Union;

  • in the Southern oblasts, slightly over a third (37%) support the accession to the EU, 27% - joining neither of the unions, 16% - joining the Customs Union;

  • in the Eastern oblasts, one third (32%) go against joining neither of the unions, 30% - for joining the EU, 27% - for joining the Customs Union.


 

 

Western region:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South region: Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern region:  Kharkivska, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (without the temporarily occupied territories).

 

Attitude of the residents of Ukraine to Ukraine's accession to NATO

According to the results of the poll, the share of supporters of Ukraine's accession to NATO somewhat prevails over the proportion of opponents: if a referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO had been held in September 2017, 45% of the Ukrainians would have voted for Ukraine's accession to NATO, 27% - against; the remaining 28% had not decided yet or would not have participated in such a referendum.

That is, if a referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO had been held in September 2017, and those who had not decided on their choice had participated in the vote, 72% would have participated in the referendum and the votes of the participants would have been divided as follows: 62% - for Ukraine's accession to NATO, 38% against.


 

 

Compared to May of this year, the share of those who are ready to vote for Ukraine's accession to NATO has increased from 41% to 45%, while the percentage of those opposed has decreased from 32% to 27%. The share of those who had not decided or would not have participated in the referendum on this issue remained unchanged (according to the results of May polls, there were 27% of those, in September - 28%, the difference lies within the limits of statistical error).


 

The idea of Ukraine's accession to NATO still receives more support from the residents of the Western and the Central oblasts; in the South and the East of the country, most of the residents are opposed to Ukraine's accession to NATO. According to the polls, if a referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO had been held in September 2017,

  • In western oblasts, 62% would have voted for the accession, 12% - against, 28% - undecided;

  • In central oblasts, 51% would have voted for the accession, 22% - against, 27% - undecided;

  • In south oblasts, 29% would have voted for the accession, 40% - against, 31% - undecided;

  • In eastern oblasts, 25% would have voted for the accession, 50% - against, 25% - undecided.


 

 

Western region:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South region: Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern region:  Kharkivska, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (without the temporarily occupied territories).

 

ADDITION. Tables

 

Table 1. “Imagine, please, that the referendum on whether Ukraine should join the European Union is happening now. You can vote for joining, against joining or skip the question – not participate in the poll. What is your choice?”, %

  Dec. 2014 Feb. 2015 May. 2015 Sep. 2015 Dec. 2015 Feb.2016 May.2016 Sep.2016 Dec. 2016 Feb. 2017 May.2017 Sep. 2017
For joining 54.3 52.4 51.3 48.3 55.1 50.9 49.4 49.1 50.0 48.9 53.2 57.4
Against joining 23.5 24.4 26.2 28.4 21.2 25.8 26.2 25.4 28.7 27.9 23.9 17.3
Not to participate 8.4 10.3 10.2 10.6 10.6 8.9 9.3 10.4 9.4 10.9 8.0 10.5
Difficult to say 13.7 12.8 12.3 12.8 13.1 14.4 15.1 15.1 11.8 12.3 14.9 14.8
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine without the temporarily occupied territories (that is, excluding the AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

Table 2. “Imagine, please, that the referendum on whether Ukraine should join the European Union is happening now. You can vote for joining, against joining or skip the question – not participate in the poll. What is your choice?” – September 2017, distribution by regions, %

 

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE
For joining 76.5 60.0 42.5 39.3 57.4
Against joining 4.7 15.1 25.7 33.1 17.3
Not to participate 6.9 12.1 9.8 14.8 10.5
Difficult to say 12.0 12.7 22.0 12.8 14.8
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine without the temporarily occupied territories (that is, excluding the AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

Western region:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South region: Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern region:  Kharkivska oblast, only regions controlled by Ukraine in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts.

Table 3. “And if the referendum on whether Ukraine should join the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan was happening now, how would you vote: vote for joining, against joining or skip the question – not participate in the poll. What is your choice?”, %

  Dec. 2014 May. 2015 Sep. 2015 Dec. 2015 Feb. 2016 May. 2016 Sep. 2016 Sep. 2017
For joining 16.8 16.3 15.8 14.2 14.9 16.2 17.9 15.3
Against joining 60.0 59.3 60.2 59.6 60.0 57.0 54.6 54.8
Not to participate 10.6 12.2 11.8 12.1 9.6 9.8 11.2 13.9
Difficult to say 12.6 12.2 12.1 14.1 15.5 17.1 16.2 16.0
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine without the temporarily occupied territories (that is, excluding the AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

 

Table 4. “And if the referendum on whether Ukraine should join the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan was happening now, how would you vote: vote for joining, against joining or skip the question – not participate in the poll. What is your choice?” – September 2017, distribution by regions, %

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE
For joining 5.6 12.4 23.2 28.2 15.3
Against joining 74.0 57.6 38.5 39.3 54.8
Not to participate 10.6 17.5 11.9 14.7 13.9
Difficult to say 9.8 12.5 26.4 17.9 16.0
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine without the temporarily occupied territories (that is, excluding the AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

Western region:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South region: Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern region:  Kharkivska oblast, only regions controlled by Ukraine in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts.

 

Table 5. “In your opinion, what direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take?”, %

  Feb. 2015 Sep. 2015 Dec. 2015 Feb. 2016 May. 2016 Sep. 2016 Dec. 2016 Feb. 2017 May. 2017 Sep. 2017
Accession the European Union 48.9 46.0 52.5 49.3 47.7 45.7 46.5 46.7 49.2 53.1
Accession the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia 10.5 14.6 12.6 13.3 13.5 12.9 17.0 14.3 10.8 10.5
Joining neither the European Union nor the Customs Union 27.6 28.3 22.3 24.7 26.4 30.3 26.2 27.9 26.4 23.7
Difficult to say 13.0 11.1 12.6 12.7 12.4 11.1 10.4 11.1 13.6 12.6
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine without the temporarily occupied territories (that is, excluding the AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

 

Table 6. “In your opinion, what direction of foreign policy should Ukraine take?”, September 2017, distribution by regions, %

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE
Accession the European Union 73.9 57.0 37.5 29.5 53.1
Accession the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia 1.2 8.0 15.6 26.7 10.5
Joining neither the European Union nor the Customs Union 15.8 24.3 27.3 31.9 23.7
Difficult to say 9.0 10.7 19.7 11.8 12.6
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine without the temporarily occupied territories (that is, excluding the AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

Western region:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South region: Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern region:  Kharkivska oblast, only regions controlled by Ukraine in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts.

 

Table 7. “And if the referendum on whether Ukraine should join NATO was happening now, what would be your choice - for joining, against joining or skip the question – not participate in the poll?”, %

  Sep.2014 May.2015 Sep.2016 Feb.2017 May.2017 Sep. 2017
For joining 47.8 39.6 39.2 41.3 41.0 44.8
Against joining 32.4 34.0 31.2 31.6 31.7 27.2
Not to participate 7.3 9.7 17.8 10.5 8.1 10.5
Difficult to say 12.5 16.7 11.8 16.6 19.3 17.5
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine without the temporarily occupied territories (that is, excluding the AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

Table 9. “And if the referendum on whether Ukraine should join NATO was happening now, what would be your choice - for joining, against joining or skip the question – not participate in the poll?”, September 2017, distribution by regions, %

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE
For joining 61.7 50.6 28.8 25.0 44.8
Against joining 10.5 22.4 40.3 49.8 27.2
Not to participate 8.8 10.6 10.5 13.4 10.5
Difficult to say 18.9 16.4 20.4 11.9 17.5
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine without the temporarily occupied territories (that is, excluding the AR of Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts).

Western region:  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts; Central region: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; South region: Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; Eastern region:  Kharkivska oblast, only regions controlled by Ukraine in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts.

 

Regarding the commentary, please contact Yulia Sakhno: j.sakhno@kiis.com.ua

 


25.10.2017
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