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By John Helmer, Moscow

Voter polling by the US Agency for Intrnational Development in Ukraine reveals that if the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk fail to cast votes, the outcome will be a hung parliament. President Petro Poroshenko’s (lead image, left) bloc, according to the US- funded polls taken in September, will lead the voting, but his candidates are unlikely to gather more than 32% of the vote nationwide. That’s far ahead of his opponents, but when the most anti-Russian of them are added up, together they may draw about 30% of the vote.

Leading these small, mostly western-region parties are Oleg Lyashko (centre) and his Radical Party; and Oleg Tyagnibok (right) and the Svoboda (“Freedom”) party. The current Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk has been running neck and neck with Tyagnibok. According to US-funded polls, he may end up with more than the 5% of voters he is currently drawing. In voter intention, both Yatseniuk and Tyagnibok are overtaking Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland bloc.

The latest polling also reveals that voter support for Poroshenko peaked several weeks ago, and as it wanes, politicians advocating renewed war against the eastern regions and against Russia have been gaining in the western and central regions of the country. “We expect that Poroshenko will take a plurality of seats,” said Vladimir Paniotto, head of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS). “But the number will be less than half. Two months ago, Poroshenko could take 50% [of Verkhovna Rada seats]; today not more than 30%. That’s still two times more than his nearest rival.”

Paniotto is also forecasting a hung parliament without a working majority for the President. “It is unlikely that the other parties [can] unite with each other. Most likely one of them will join the bloc of Poroshenko. Maybe Yatseniuk.”

The Razumkov Centre, another independent polling company in Kiev, said: “No one party will be able to gain the required majority. Therefore, most likely a coalition will be formed. This is likely to be the Poroshenko bloc with the Yatseniuk bloc and someone else. Who else it’s too early to say.” For Razumkov’s polling in the regions ahead of the May 25 presidential election, read this.

Constitutionally, the Verkohovna Rada has 450 seats. The last election was held in October 2012, when Victor Yanukovich was president. The new election to refill the parliament is due next Sunday, October 26.

For key to the current party and factional lineup, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verkhovna_Rada

The latest survey of Ukrainian voter preferences was paid for by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and published by the International Republican Institute (IRI), a think-tank associated with the Republican Party in Washington. The Gallup firm designed the questionnaire, which was reportedly administered to a countrywide sample of 1,200 between September 12 and 25.Pollsters were obliged to take face-to-face interviews in the homes of the respondents. The refusal rate was 37%.

Source: http://www.iri.org

Earlier voter preference polls can be compared here.

The sample for IRI’s latest measurement is much smaller and more selective than the earlier polls conducted by Ukrainian polling companies. For IRI’s election-choice question, the sample was just 880 “likely voters”. Poroshenko appears to be well ahead with 32%; Lyashko’s Radical Party is at 10%; the Tymoshenko bloc, 7%; Yatseniuk, 5%; Svoboda, 4%; Pravy Sektor, 1%. Counting the “right opposition”, whose electioneering platforms are now converging, they command at least 27% of the expected vote, while Poroshenko has only 5% more. Statistical error accounts for 3%. The Don’t Knows and Undecideds amount to 19%.

It’s therefore at them that the last days of election campaigning are now targeted. For USAID and IRI, by sampling outside the zone of civil war and ceasefire, the polling appears to be producing a new national Ukrainian consensus. This is militantly anti-Russian, as the wording of the first question indicates:


Unsurprisingly, this sample of Ukrainians is in favour of more, not less military action in the east – almost as many as there were as there were six months ago, before the military defeats of July and August.

territorial integrity

The IRI concludes: “Strong Majority in Every Region Opposes Russia’s Military Aggression. Despite continued claims to the contrary from Moscow and pro-Russian separatists, 89 percent of respondents oppose Russia sending troops to protect Russian-speaking citizens. The opposition to Russia’s actions is seen across all regions – 78 percent in the east, 89 percent in the south, 93 percent in central Ukraine and 99 percent in the west. It also transcends language. Seventy-nine percent of Russian speakers and 95 percent of Ukrainian speakers oppose the Russian actions. IRI noted that this was the first national poll in some time to include respondents from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (states).”

While the strongest consensus (86%) polled appears to be that the situation in Ukraine has grown worse over the past 12 months, and that war in Donbass is now the priority issue (73%), IRI’s sample of Ukrainians claims to be ready to make further sacrifices to living, even survival standards “if…it would strengthen Ukraine’s position against Russia”:


The IRI report claims that four regions in last month’s poll were counted as eastern – Dniepropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Lugansk. If the pollsters knocking on doors explained they were from the US Government, it is likely they were admitted only in homes within government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Lugansk. Just how selective IRI and Gallup were is indicated in the demographics report for the language spoken at home – 67% of those surveyed said Ukrainian; just 33% said Russian. Countrywide, according to pre-war surveys, Russian is used at home by about 45% of the Ukrainian population, or about equal to the Ukrainian-speaking proportion. In the east and south, Russophones make up a clear majority. Since the war started, Ukrainians are increasingly reluctant to acknowledge to strangers knocking on their doors what language they speak inside.

The only regional breakdown reported by the IRI is of intention to vote, not voter preference:


This reveals that a near majority of eastern voters, 45%, may boycott the election. With them out of the way on Sunday, the mandate of the new Verkhovna Rada, according to USAID, Gallup, and IRI, will be for a coalition of the willing against Russia – less heat, less light, more war. That’s to say, a hot war against a cold people.

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