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Public opinion of Ukraine on the 28th year of independence of the state

A nationwide public opinion poll was conducted by Kiev International Institute of sociology  by order the Ilko Kucheriv “Democratic Initiatives” Foundation in collaboration with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on August 8-20, 2019. The survey was conducted in 103 settlements (PSUs) in all oblasts of Ukraine except for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the polls were conducted only in the territories controlled by Ukraine. A total of 2040 respondents were interviewed, those polled represent the adult population of Ukraine (over 18 years) by their characteristics. The sampling error does not exceed 2.3%.

The poll is financially supported by the International Renaissance Foundation. Some questions were included by the request of the Center for Political and Legal Reforms.

To compare changes in public opinion, the results of surveys conducted at different times by the DI Foundation together with its partners - the Razumkov Center and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, as well as some monitoring data of the Institute of Sociology of NAS of Ukraine, are included.

  • If the independence referendum had been held in August 2019, the overwhelming majority of the referendum participants (89%) would have supported the independence. Such a high index was observed only in the poll of 1991 that was conducted on the eve of the referendum. 
  • For the vast majority of citizens (68%), Ukraine's Independence Day is a national holiday, for 23% of them it is just a day off, and only 4% of the Ukrainians consider this day to be a historic mistake. Independence Day is widely regarded as a national holiday in the Central (77%) and Western (75%) regions, somewhat less — in the South (58%) and the East (60%).

  • Just over half of the citizens (53%) answered that the Independence Day celebrations on August 24 are related to the Verkhovna Rada's adoption of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. The rest associated this date with either the independence referendum (22%) or the Verkhovna Rada's adoption of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine (11%), and 14.5% were unable to give a definite answer.

  • Regarding the years of independence, reflecting on whether the things were rather positive or negative over the years, 26% of the Ukrainians believe these years were rather positive, 23% — that they were negative, and the majority (46%) thinks that things were equally positive and negative. At the same time, compared to 2011, these estimates are significantly more positive: 31% of respondents back then said that things were more of a negative, and only 13.5% said that they were rather positive.

 

An important feature of the socio-political situation in Ukraine in the 28th year of independence is a significant increase in optimistic attitudes and beliefs in a better future.

 

  • In August 2019, for the first time since the monitoring has begun (since 2004), half of the citizens believe that matters in Ukraine are moving in the right direction (23% have the opposite opinion and 26% have not decided yet). A positive assessment of the development of the events in Ukraine prevails in all regions and age groups, and the most optimistic estimates are in the Western region (63%) and in the youth group of those who are under 30 (71%). For comparison, in December 2018, only 18% considered the course of development  to be correct and 70% believed it was incorrect. Relatively positive evaluations were detected usually after the presidential elections: in June 2005 (43% of citizens rated the course as correct, and 31% — as incorrect) and in April 2010 (35% and 34%, respectively). 
  • After the elections, citizens' belief that Ukraine is capable of overcoming existing problems and difficulties over the next few years has increased significantly: in the previous years, from 2015 to 2018, there were 17-22% of such “optimists”, and in August 2019 they were 48% already, and only 8% do not believe that Ukraine is capable of this. Belief in the prospects of Ukraine to overcome the difficulties prevails in all regions and among citizens of all ages, it is especially strong among young people under 30 (62%). 
  • August 2019 stands out with a much more favorable assessment of the political situation. For the first time, 31% of citizens identified the situation as positive enough — either favorable (5.5%) or calm (26%). There are particularly positive attitudes among young people: 9% of them consider the current political situation to be favorable, and another 43% think it is calm. In 2015–2018, positive estimates were on the level of 4–10%. The political situation was characterized as critical and explosive by 37% of citizens in 2015, by 30% in 2016, by 30% in 2017, by 25% in 2018 and by only 8% in 2019. At the same time, the assessment of the situation in Ukraine as tense (52-64%) prevails through all these years. 
  • After the elections, the positive feelings of the Ukrainians in the perception of the future of Ukraine have increased significantly: 56% feel hopeful, optimism has come in second place (36%) and it is the highest index through the whole period of the measurements (since 2005). There has been a significant decrease in anxiety: from 33% in December 2018 to 18% in August 2019. The hope for the future of Ukraine prevails among citizens of all regions (52-63%) and age groups (54-57%). People in the Central (44.5%) and Western (39%) regions are most optimistic, while as to age groups, the most optimistic people are those under 30 (47%) and those who are 30-44 years (41%). 
  • The radical changes have happened in the attitude to NATO in 2014. While in April 2012, only 13% of citizens saw NATO as the best security option, with 31% of the Ukrainians opting for a military alliance with Russia and the CIS countries and another 31% favoring non-aligned status, then since 2014, public opinion has changed radically. In the next few years, NATO membership was supported by 40-46% of citizens, a military alliance with Russia and other CIS countries — by 5-7%, while the number of supporters of non-aligned status of Ukraine remained at the level of 21-28%. However, in the last survey in August 2019 this percentage increased significantly — up to 36%. NATO membership in the August poll was supported by 41% of the Ukrainians. 
  • Attitude towards Ukraine's accession to NATO differs by the regions: people in the Western region are mostly positive about this prospect (66% support joining NATO, 17% are for non-aligned status), as well as citizens of the Central region (52.5% and 26%, respectively). Negative attitudes prevail in the Southern region (only 15% of citizens support NATO membership, 13% are for military alliance with Russia, and the majority (64%) are for non-aligned status) and in the Eastern region (24% are for NATO membership, 11% are for military union with Russia, the majority (42%) are for non-aligned status). There is a direct dependency on age distribution: Ukraine's membership in NATO is most supported as a guarantee of security by the youngest (54% in the 18-29 age group), and much less (22%) are for the non-aligned status. At the same time, only those Ukrainians who are over 60 years old prefer the non-aligned status: 31% of them support Ukraine's NATO membership and 40% are for non-aligned status. 
  • The poll contained a block of questions about the all-Ukrainian referendum — what citizens know about it, what its role is, etc. The results showed that citizens` knowledge of these issues is extremely unsatisfactory and, therefore, significant educational work is needed to promote citizens' civic awareness. 
  • The increase in trust in the newly elected authorities has changed the opinion of the citizens about those key actors who should be trusted to purge the judiciary of dishonest judges. While in May 2018, citizens delegated the right to select judges primarily to the representatives of the public (41%), experts from Western countries (34%) and lawyers who have not worked as judges (31%), and citizens did not trust the President (5%) and the Verkhovna Rada (5%); then now, on the contrary, almost half of the population is ready to entrust the case of court renewal to the newly elected President (49%), the newly elected Verkhovna Rada (28%) and, secondarily, to experts from Western countries (23%), lawyers who have not worked as judges (20%), and representatives of the public (19%). But the judges themselves were not trusted in the cleansing of the judiciary (6.5%) before, so they are not trusted now (9.5%).

 

 

 

Results of the survey

 

If a referendum on Ukraine's declaration of state independence was held today, how would you vote on it? 

  1991 2006 2011 2016 2019
  Out of all Out of those who decided Out of all Out of those who decided Out of all Out of those who decided Out of all Out of those who decided Out of all Out of those who decided
For the act of independence 64.3 88.7 53.3 70.2 51.5 67.1 64.6 86.9 70.8 89.1
Against the act of independence 8.2 11.3 22.6 29.8 25.2 32.9 9.7 13.1 9.5 10.9
Would not participate 3   10.6   10.6   13.8   7.6  
DIFFICULT TO SAY  23.7   13.4   12.5   11.9   12.1  

 

In your opinion, why do we celebrate the Day of Independence on August 24th?

An independence referendum was held on that day 21.7
On this day, the Verkhovna Rada of the UkrSSR adopted the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine 53.0
On that day, the Verkhovna Rada of the UkrSSR adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine 10.8
DIFFICULT TO SAY  14.5

 

What does the Day of Independence mean to you?

Day off 22.6
State holiday, date of creation of the state of Ukraine in its modern form 68.5
Historical mistake, Ukraine should not have proclaimed the independence 4.2
Other 0.4
DIFFICULT TO SAY 4.1

 

Do you think that state matters during the years of the existence of an independent Ukraine were rather positive or rather negative?

  August-2011 August -2019
 Rather positive 13,5 25.9
 Equally positive and negative 45,8 45.7
Rather negative 31,4 23.3
DIFFICULT TO SAY 9,2 5.1

 

In general, do you think matters in Ukraine are going in the right or the wrong directions?

  April 2004 June 2005 November 2005 September 2007 October 2009 April 2010 August 2011 August 2012 December 2013 December 2014 December 2015 December 2016 December 2017 December 2018 August 2019
In the right direction 20.3 42.6 18.3 15.2 6.9 35.1 16.1 19.7 26.1 21.7 15.3 16.2 14.4 18.1 50.5
In the wrong direction 55.7 30.6 59.1 67.8 81.1 34.5 61.9 57.6 54.7 57.7 67.9 67.1 73.7 69.7 23.1
Difficult to say/No reply 24.0 26.8 22.5 17.1 12.0 30.4 22.1 22.6 19.1 20.6 16.8 16.8 11.9 12.2 26.9

 

According to national surveys conducted in different years by the Ilko Kucheriv “Democratic Initiatives” Foundation together with partners the Razumkov Center and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

Do you think Ukraine is capable of overcoming existing problems and difficulties?

  March
2015
February
2016
December 2016 December 2017 December
2018
August
2019
Able to overcome in the next few years 21.8 19.1 16.8 21.5 20.2 47.7
Able to overcome in the longer term 42.7 45.4 49.3 49.3 46.4 33.7
Not able  21.6 23.4 19.5 15.2 14.9 7.6
Difficult to say 13.9 12.0 14.4 14.0 18.5 11.0

 

How would you evaluate the political situation in Ukraine as a whole?

  July 2015 May 2016 June 2017 August 2018 August 2019
Favorable 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 5.5
Calm 3.6 4.2 5.6 4.7 25.6
Tense 52.1 60.8 60.8 63.6 52.7
Critical, explosive 36.7 30.0 30.2 25.2 8.4
Difficult to say 7.1 4.6 3.0 6.2 7.6


What feelings do you have when you think about the future of Ukraine? *

  2005 2006 2010 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 December-
2018
August-2019
Optimism 33.8 25.5 25.1 19.7 14.1 23.5 22.9 21.9 20.5 28.1 36.3
Indifference 2.7 2.8 2.4 4.6 4.8 1.6 2.3 1.7 2.8 3.6 2.5
Joy 11.7 4.8 3.1 1.9 1.4 4.1 1.6 2.3 2.7 5.0 6.6
Deadlock 6.1 11.2 13.3 11.1 17.8 8.9 11.8 11.0 11.5 8.6 5.5
Confidence 19.5 9.8 11.2 6.7 5.1 11.7 7.2 7.8 8.9 11.8 13.0
Confusion 10.5 16 17.1 12.6 17.1 13.4 16.4 14.0 16.4 14.1 8.5
Satisfaction 9.2 3.4 3.3 1.4 1.7 2.9 1.6 2.2 2.4 2.2 2.5
Pessimism 2.8 7.2 7.8 11.5 11.4 5.7 10.3 10.3 12.1 5.3 3.0
Hope 61.2 50.7 56.5 47.0 32.1 48.8 44.1 44.4 46.6 51.8 55.8
Anxiety 24.4 34.4 29.1 34.5 30.9 44.5 39.8 37.7 34.5 32.7 17.8
Interest 21.5 17.0 19.8 14.1 11.9 10.2 11.4 10.0 14.1 9.3 14.4
Fear 8.1 11.0 16.4 17.0 22.0 23.6 20.9 22.9 16.8 8.3 3.9
Other 0.5 0.5 1.1 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.7 0.2 0.3 1.6 0.4
Difficult to say 7.1 6.8 7.2 8.3 11.0 7.1 4.1 5.6 5.4 4.8 3.8

* Number of answers was not limited

 

In your opinion, which security option would be the best for Ukraine?

  December2007 April2012 May2014 September 2014 December 2014 November 2015 December 2016 December 2017 December 2018 August 2019
Joining NATO 18,9 13,0 32,6 43,6 46,4 45,7 44,1 38,5 46,1 40,9
Military alliance with Russia and other CIS countries 31,3 26,2 13,0 14,8 10,1 8,2 6,4 5,3 7,2 7,4
Military alliance with the USA   - - 1,5 - - 3,4 3,9 5,0 2,9 -
Non-aligned status 30,7 42,1 28,3 22,2 20,9 22,6 26,4 28,6 24,1 35,9
Other 1,6 0,9 1,0 0,4 1,0 2,4 2,5 3,1 3,0 0,2
Difficult to say 17,5 17,8 23,7 19 21,7 17,6 16,6 19,5 16,7 15,6

 

 

Do you think there is a law on an all-Ukrainian referendum in Ukraine?

Yes 19.0
No 11.5
Difficult to say 54.5

  

In your opinion, is it obligatory to hold an all-Ukrainian referendum to change the territory of Ukraine?

Yes 19.0
No 11.5
The territory of Ukraine cannot be changed at all 54.5
Difficult to say 15.0

 

Is it possible to recognize the issue that will be raised in the all-Ukrainian referendum as unconstitutional?

Yes 23.4
No 28.6
Difficult to say 48.0

 

Who can declare an issue put on referendum`s agenda on a people's initiative as unconstitutional?

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 10.1
Supreme Cort of Ukraine 13.2
Constitutional Court of Ukraine 42.1
Do not know 34.6

 

Would you initiate a referendum in Ukraine on the following issues:

  Yes  No  Difficult to say
On the establishment of a single tax for all -5%, and for oligarchs - 40% 70.6  13.9  15.5 
On the death penalty for pedophiles 69.8  16.1  14.1 

 

Do you have the right to apply to the Constitutional Court for declaring the law to be unconstitutional?

Yes, if I consider the law to be unconstitutional 15.6
Yes, but only after receiving a final judgment that applied an unconstitutional law 18.9
No, I do not have such right 26.5
Do not know 39.0

 

Can the Parliament amend the Constitution without the conclusion of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine?

Yes 22.6
No 37.7
Do not know 39.7

 

Who should responsible for the cleansing of the judiciary of the dishonest judges? NO MORE THAN 3 ANSWERS 

  May -2018 August -2019
President 4.6 49.3
Verkhovna Rada 5.4 28.1
Judges themselves - the judicial authorities 6.5 9.5
Lawyers who did not work as judges 31.5 20.1
Experts from Western countries 34.5 22.8
Representatives of the public 40.7 19.4
Others 3.8 0.5
DIFFICULT TO SAY 20.5 15.1

 

Regional and age differences in public opinion, August 2019 

In general, do you think matters in Ukraine are going in the right or the wrong direction?

  West Center/North South East
In the right direction 62.9 53.0 41.0 42.9
In the wrong direction 15.5 18.9 37.6 22.5
Difficult to say 21.6 28.1 21.4 34.6

 

In general, do you think matters in Ukraine are going in the right or the wrong direction?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
In the right direction 71.3 55.3 44.2 38.8
In the wrong direction 12.2 19.6 27.2 29.3
Difficult to say 16.4 25.1 28.6 31.9

 

Do you think Ukraine is capable of overcoming existing problems and difficulties?

  West Center/North South East
Able to overcome in the next few years 51.0 50.1 42.6 45.9
Able to overcome in the longer term 36.3 36.1 26.7 34.6
Not able  7.0 4.7 12.3 7.5
Difficult to say 5.7 9.0 18.4 12.1

 

Do you think Ukraine is capable of overcoming existing problems and difficulties?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
Able to overcome in the next few years 61.7 49.3 45.2 40.0
Able to overcome in the longer term 26.3 34.9 34.3 36.4
Not able  4.3 6.6 9.9 8.5
Difficult to say 7.7 9.2 10.6 15.1

 

How would you evaluate the political situation in Ukraine as a whole?

  West Center/North South East
Favorable 7.6 8.1 2.5 1.8
Calm 29.8 22.3 35.8 25.0
Tense 46.5 51.9 50.9 59.1
Critical, explosive 9.3 8.9 4.9 7.0
Difficult to say 6.8 8.7 5.9 7.1

 

How would you evaluate the political situation in Ukraine as a whole?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
Favorable 8.7 4.6 4.6 4.8
Calm 42.9 32.3 22.5 18.8
Tense 39.6 48.8 56.4 58.6
Critical, explosive 3.7 6.0 9.6 10.0
Difficult to say 5.1 8.3 6.9 7.8

 

In your opinion, why do we celebrate the Day of Independence on August 24th?

  West Center/North South East
An independence referendum was held on that day 24.7 16.0 25.3 22.7
On this day, the Verkhovna Rada of the UkrSSR adopted the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine 58.5 53.6 55.7 43.3
On that day, the Verkhovna Rada of the UkrSSR adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine 10.0 13.0 8.1 11.4
Difficult to say 6.8 17.4 11.0 22.6

 

In your opinion, why do we celebrate the Day of Independence on August 24th?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
An independence referendum was held on that day 16.3 22.2 24.2 22.0
On this day, the Verkhovna Rada of the UkrSSR adopted the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine 58.0 52.5 51.2 52.0
On that day, the Verkhovna Rada of the UkrSSR adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine 7.7 13.6 10.9 9.8
Difficult to say 18.0 11.6 13.7 16.2

 

What does the Day of Independence mean to you?

  West Center/North South East
Day off 20.9 16.5 29.7 26.0
State holiday, date of creation of the state of Ukraine in its modern form 74.9 77.0 58.5 59.9
Historical mistake, Ukraine should not have proclaimed the independence 1.9 2.8 6.4 6.7
Other 0.6 0.6 0.0 0.5
Difficult to say 1.7 3.1 5.4 6.9

 

What does the Day of Independence mean to you?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
Day off 20.2 24.8 23.1 21.5
State holiday, date of creation of the state of Ukraine in its modern form 75.3 68.2 68.0 65.3
Historical mistake, Ukraine should not have proclaimed the independence 0.6 3.5 4.6 6.8
Other 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.6
Difficult to say 3.5 3.0 4.0 5.8

 

If a referendum on Ukraine's declaration of state independence was held today, how would you vote on it?

  West Center/North South East
For the act of independence 89.3 77.1 53.1 59.8
Against the act of independence 2.4 5.9 18.0 13.8
Would not participate 4.3 5.4 10.7 11.0
Difficult to say 4.0 11.7 18.2 15.4

 

If a referendum on Ukraine's declaration of state independence was held today, how would you vote on it?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
For the act of independence 81.4 74.7 69.6 61.7
Against the act of independence 3.6 4.7 12.4 15.3
Would not participate 4.8 8.4 6.4 9.4
Difficult to say 10.2 12.2 11.6 13.6

 

Do you think that state matters during the years of the existence of an independent Ukraine were rather positive or rather negative?

  West Center/North South East
 Rather positive 41.5 29.0 18.9 11.6
 Equally positive and negative 46.3 46.1 46.8 43.3
Rather negative 9.6 19.6 26.5 39.9
Difficult to say 2.6 5.2 7.7 5.2

 

Do you think that state matters during the years of the existence of an independent Ukraine were rather positive or rather negative?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
 Rather positive 45.8 25.8 23.0 16.8
 Equally positive and negative 30.9 49.9 47.7 48.4
Rather negative 12.8 17.5 26.6 32.3
Difficult to say 10.5 6.8 2.8 2.4

 

In your opinion, which security option would be the best for Ukraine?

  West Center/North South East
Joining NATO 65.8 52.5 14.6 23.9
Military alliance with Russia and other CIS countries 2.4 4.3 13.3 11.3
Non-aligned status of Ukraine 17.1 26.0 63.7 42.1
Other 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.3
Difficult to say 14.7 16.7 8.4 22.4

 

In your opinion, which security option would be the best for Ukraine?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
Joining NATO 53.7 41.4 43.2 30.6
Military alliance with Russia and other CIS countries 4.5 6.5 7.6 10.0
Non-aligned status of Ukraine 21.9 38.3 37.9 39.8
Other 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.4
Difficult to say 19.5 13.6 11.3 19.2

 

What feelings do you have when you think about the future of Ukraine?

  West Center/North South East
Optimism 38.6 44.5 26,8 32.1
Indifference 0.8 2.4 3,3 3.9
Joy 10.4 5.4 2,0 8.9
Deadlock 4.3 5.6 4,0 7.9
Confidence 15.7 15.7 4,7 14.9
Confusion 7.1 8.6 8,0 10.4
Satisfaction 4.3 1.9 0,5 3.3
Pessimism 1.7 3.0 0,7 7.0
Hope 57.3 51.9 63,3 51.9
Anxiety 14.9 16.5 21,8 18.9
Interest 17.8 13.3 15,6 11.2
Fear 4.8 2.8 3,6 4.7
Other 0.7 0.1 0,6 0.4
Difficult to say 3.0 2.8 5,3 4.5

 

What feelings do you have when you think about the future of Ukraine?

  18-29 y.o. 30-44 y.o. 45-59 y.o. 60 years and older
Optimism 46.8 41.0 33.5 28.0
Indifference 1.1 4.2 1.9 2.3
Joy 10.4 8.0 5.3 4.2
Deadlock 1.7 4.0 8.3 6.7
Confidence 21.4 13.6 11.4 8.9
Confusion 5.6 10.0 8.7 8.5
Satisfaction 5.3 2.7 0.7 2.2
Pessimism 1.2 2.2 5.1 3.2
Hope 57.1 56.6 56.1 53.9
Anxiety 9.3 16.6 19.6 22.5
Interest 24.2 12.3 13.9 11.3
Fear 1.9 3.7 4.6 4.7
Other 0.0 0.3 0.9 0.4
Difficult to say 2.4 3.7 3.2 5.1

 

 


22.8.2019
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