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Geopolitical orientations and attitude of the residents of Ukraine to the independence of Ukraine

Press release by Yulia Sakhno

Major results:

  • Over the past year, support for the independence of Ukraine among the population has intensified: if the referendum on Ukraine's independence had been held in May 2017, 90% of those who expressed their readiness to participate in such a referendum would have voted for an act of independence, 10% would have voted against it.

  • Compared to February 2017, the readiness of the population to vote for Ukraine's accession to the EU increased: if the referendum on EU membership had been held in May 2017, 69% of the votes would have been given to the EU, 31% - against.

  • In the referendum on joining NATO, the votes would have been distributed as follows: 56% - for Ukraine's accession to NATO, 44% - against. The share of people who are ready to vote for Ukraine's accession to NATO remains unchanged for the last two years.

  • When asked about the desired direction of foreign policy, 49% of those polled favored Ukraine's accession to the EU, 11% - for joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia, while 26% believe that Ukraine should be independent without entering any of the unions. People's thoughts about the desired course of foreign policy, despite some fluctuations, remained practically unchanged over the past two years.

On May 19 – 28, 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%.


Ставлення жителів України до незалежності України

Attitude of the residents of Ukraine to the independence of Ukraine

Ukraine gained its independence 26 years ago. On August 24, 1991, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Declaration of Independence, and on December 1, 1991, Ukrainian citizens spoke in support of independence: 84.2% of the population participated in an all-Ukrainian referendum, 90.3% of them voted in favor of independence.

In order to monitor the attitude of the population to the state independence, KIIS in its researches ask the question about how the respondents would vote if a referendum on the proclamation of Ukraine's independence was held nowadays.

According to the results of this year's poll, if the referendum on Ukraine's independence had been held in May 2017, 70% of the population of Ukraine[1] would have voted for the independence, 8% - would have voted against, and 22% - would not have voted or would not have participated in the referendum.

That is, if the referendum on Ukraine's independence had been held in May 2017, and those who had not decided how to vote yet, had not, as usual, come to a referendum[2], 78% would have participated in the referendum and 90% of them would have voted for the independence of Ukraine, 10% - against.



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

[2] Actually, in this question and in the questions below, we do not ask for a vote next Sunday, but we ask to say how the respondent would vote if the vote was held right now. This is a sort of imitation of a referendum. Therefore, the answer "difficult to say" actually means non-participation in the referendum.


Over the past year, support for Ukraine's independence has increased slightly: the proportion of those who would vote for the independence act has increased from 64% of the population in May 2016 to 70% in May 2017 (or from 87% to 90% of those who took part in voting).

According to the poll data, in all regions the partition of those who in case of a referendum would vote for the independence of Ukraine is significantly bigger than the partition of those who would vote against:

  • In Western oblasts 87% of the population spoke for the independence, 2% - against, 10% - have not decided yet or would not participate in the referendum;

  • In the Center 72% of the population would vote for the independence, 9% - against, 19% - have not decided yet or would not participate;

  • In the South of Ukraine 63% of the population would vote for the independence, 13% - against, 24% - have not decided yet or would not participate;

  • In the East of Ukraine 43% of the population would vote for the independence, 7% - against, 50% - have not decided yet or would not participate.

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

As of May 2017, Ukraine's accession to the EU was supported by more than half of the Ukrainian population: according to a poll conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, if a referendum on Ukraine's accession to the European Union had been held in May 2017, 53% of the Ukrainians would have voted for Ukraine's accession to the EU, 24% - against, and the remaining 23% - had not decided or would not have participated 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, 77% 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 May 2017): for accession to the EU - 69% of votes, against - 31%.

Compared to February 2017, the share of those who are ready to vote for Ukraine's accession to the EU has increased by 4 percentage points, from 49% to 53%, the share of opponents of joining the EU has decreased by the same amount (by 4 percentage points, from 28% to 24%). It can be assumed that an increase in the readiness of the population to vote for joining the EU is due to the introduction of a visa-free regime, which could have a positive impact on attitude and trust in the EU.

As before, the attitude to the issue of Ukraine's accession to the EU varies considerably depending on the region: to the greatest extent, the accession of the EU is supported by the inhabitants of the Western oblasts (75% are ready to vote for accession) and the Central oblasts (54%), to the smallest extent - the inhabitants of the Southern oblasts (35% ) and Eastern (42%).

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 EU membership, respondents were asked to answer which foreign policy they generally view as the most desirable for Ukraine.

According to the poll conducted in May 2017, Ukraine's accession to the EU remains the preferred direction of foreign policy for the majority (49%). The course for joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia is considered desirable by 11% of the Ukrainians. A significant part (26%) is still opposed to the EU and against the Customs Union and believes that Ukraine should develop independently without joining any of these associations.


Citizens' opinions about the desired course of foreign policy, despite some fluctuations, remain practically unchanged over the past two years: most people consider it desirable to join the EU, followed by the prevalence of non-alignment either to the EU or to the Customs Union, and the least popular is accession to the Customs Union.

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

  • In western oblasts, the absolute majority (75%) considers it desirable to join the EU, 15% - not to join any of the unions, 4% - to join the Customs Union.

  • In central oblasts, the majority (48%) are in favor of accession to the EU, 24% - want to join neither the EU nor the Customs Union, 7% - want to join the Customs Union;

  • In southern oblasts, the majority (45%) considers it desirable not to join any of the associations, 29% - support the course of accession to the EU, 18% - the course of joining the Customs Union;

  • In eastern oblasts, 39% are in favor of accession to the EU, 22% - of joining the Customs Union, the same number (22%) do not want to join any of the associations.


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

As in previous studies, 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 May 2017, 41% of Ukrainians would have voted for Ukraine's accession to NATO, 32 % - against; the remaining 27% were undetermined or would not have participated in such a referendum.

That is, if a referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO had been held in May 2017, and those who had not decided on their choice had participated in the vote, 73% would have participated in the referendum and the votes of the participants would have been divided as follows: 56% - for Ukraine's accession to NATO, 44% against.

 

The share of those who are ready to vote for Ukraine's accession to NATO has practically not changed over the past two years: 40% in May 2015, 39% in September 2016, 41% in February 2017, and 41% in May 2017.

The idea of Ukraine's accession to NATO is still supported mainly by the residents of western and 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 May 2017,

  • In western oblasts, 65% would have voted for the accession, 14% - against, 21% - undecided;

  • In central oblasts, 40% would have voted for the accession, 23% - against, 37% - undecided;

  • In south oblasts, 24% would have voted for the accession, 56% - against, 20% - undecided;

  • In eastern oblasts, 29% would have voted for the accession, 43% - 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).

 

ADDITION. Tables

 

Table 1. “On August 24, 1991, the Ukrainian Parliament declared complete independence. The population of Ukraine expressed their attitude to the Independence Act at a referendum that was held on December 1, 1991. If the referendum took place today, how would you vote?”, %

  May 2016 May 2017
For the act of independence 64.1 70.1
Against the act of independence 9.7 7.9
Would not participate in voting 12.1 9.6
Difficult to say/ Denial 14.1 12.4
TOTAL 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine except for the temporarily occupied territories (without the AR of Crimea and the parts of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts).


Table 2. “On August 24, 1991, the Ukrainian Parliament declared complete independence. The population of Ukraine expressed their attitude to the Independence Act at a referendum that was held on December 1, 1991. If the referendum took place today, how would you vote?” – May 2017, distribution by regions, %

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE
For the act of independence 87.5 72.1 63.0 42.7 70.1
Against the act of independence 2.3 8.9 12.9 7.5 7.9
Would not participate in voting 6.4 7.3 8.5 24.6 9.6
Difficult to say/ Denial 3.9 11.7 15.7 25.2 12.4
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine except for the temporarily occupied territories (without the AR of Crimea and the parts of Donetska and Luhanska 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, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (without the temporarily occupied territories).


Table 3. “
Imagine, please, that the referendum on whether Ukraine should join the European Union is happening right now. You can vote for joining, against joining or skip the question and 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
For the joining 54.3 52.4 51.3 48.3 55.1 50.9 49.4 49.1 50.0 48.9 53.2
Against the joining 23.5 24.4 26.2 28.4 21.2 25.8 26.2 25.4 28.7 27.9 23.9
Would not participate in voting 8.4 10.3 10.2 10.6 10.6 8.9 9.3 10.4 9.4 10.9 8.0
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
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine except for the temporarily occupied territories (without the AR of Crimea and the parts of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts).


Table 4. “
Imagine, please, that the referendum on whether Ukraine should join the European Union is happening right now. You can vote for joining, against joining or skip the question and not participate in the poll. What is your choice?” – May 2017, distribution by regions, %

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE
For the joining 74.9 53.9 34.6 42.2 53.2
Against the joining 9.3 16.5 45.0 33.7 23.9
Would not participate in voting 4.2 7.1 11.6 11.2 8.0
Difficult to say 11.6 22.5 8.8 12.9 14.9
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine except for the temporarily occupied territories (without the AR of Crimea and the parts of Donetska and Luhanska 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, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (without the temporarily occupied territories).

 

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
Joining the European Union,             48.9 46.0 52.5 49.3 47.7 45.7 46.5 46.7 49.2
joining 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
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
Difficult to say 13.0 11.1 12.6 12.7 12.4 11.1 10.4 11.1 13.6
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine except for the temporarily occupied territories (without the AR of Crimea and the parts of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts).

 

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

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE
Joining the European Union,             74.6 47.6 29.4 39.2 49.2
joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia, 3.8 6.8 17.7 22.4 10.8
Joining neither the European Union nor the Customs Union 14.8 23.6 45.4 21.5 26.4
Difficult to say 6.8 22.0 7.5 16.9 13.6
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine except for the temporarily occupied territories (without the AR of Crimea and the parts of Donetska and Luhanska 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, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (without the temporarily occupied territories).

 

Table 7. “Imagine, please, that the referendum on whether Ukraine should join NATO is happening right now. What is your choice – to vote for joining, against joining or skip the question and not participate in the poll?”, %

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

The data are given for Ukraine except for the temporarily occupied territories (without the AR of Crimea and the parts of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts).


Table 8. “
Imagine, please, that the referendum on whether Ukraine should join NATO is happening right now. What is your choice – to vote for joining, against joining or skip the question and not participate in the poll?”, May 2017, distribution by regions, %

  Western Central South Eastern UKRAINE
For the joining 64.8 39.6 23.6 28.9 41.0
Against the joining 14.5 23.2 56.0 43.0 31.7
Would not participate in voting 4.9 6.2 11.8 12.6 8.1
Difficult to say 15.8 31.0 8.6 15.6 19.3
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

The data are given for Ukraine except for the temporarily occupied territories (without the AR of Crimea and the parts of Donetska and Luhanska 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, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (without the temporarily occupied territories).

 

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

 


 


23.8.2017
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