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Dynamics of the population's attitude to Russia and the emotional background due to the war: the results of a telephone survey conducted on May 13-18, 2022
Press release prepared by KIIS Deputy Director Anton Hrushetskyi
During May 13-18, 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion poll "Omnibus". By the method of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile telephone numbers (with random generation of telephone numbers and subsequent statistical weighing) were interviewed 2,000 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR of Crimea). The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who at the time of the survey lived in Ukraine (within the limits controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories that were temporarily not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities until February 24, 2022 (AR of Crimea, Sevastopol, some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions), and the survey was not conducted with citizens who went abroad after February 24, 2022.
Formally, under normal circumstances, the statistical error of such a sample (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) did not exceed 2.4% for indicators close to 50%, 2.1% for indicators close to 25%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.1% - for indicators close to 5%. Under the conditions of the war, in addition to this formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added, but the results obtained still remain highly representative and allow a fairly reliable analysis of public moods. Please see below for additional comments on the factors that influence the conduct of opinion polls in the military conditions.
Dynamics of attitude to Russia
In the last 3 years before the full-scale invasion, there has been a gradual decline in positive attitudes towards Russia, but despite several months of escalation near Ukraine's borders, 34% of Ukraine's population in early February 2022 treated Russia well (in one publication at the end of 2021 was examined that this was mainly due to the perception of "Russia" as "ordinary Russians" – http://kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=1078&page=4).
At present, only 2% of citizens have a good attitude towards Russia, while 92% have a bad attitude. However, it is important to understand that 2% is about 500,000 people, i.e. a significant number in absolute terms still maintains a positive attitude towards the aggressor despite the obvious facts.
Graph 1. Dynamics of good and bad attitude of the population of Ukraine to Russia
In addition to these data, it is important to see changes at the individual level. As part of the methodological experiment, we re-interviewed 513 respondents participating in our "Omnibus", conducted in early February 2022, i.e. before the full-scale invasion. For these respondents, we knew what was their attitude towards Russia in early February, and now we have repeated the same question. As can be seen in Graph 2, among those who have previously had a bad attitude towards Russia, 97% continue to have it (although 3% have now chosen the "difficult to say" option).
The change in the views of those who had a good attitude towards Russia and those who had an uncertain attitude towards it is cardinal. So, 80% of those who used to treat Russia well now treat it badly. Less than one in ten has maintained a positive attitude towards Russia, although another 12% have now decided to answer "undecided".
Among those who had an uncertain attitude towards Russia, 97% already have a bad attitude towards it.
Graph2. What is the current attitude to Russia of those who at the beginning of February 2022 treated it well / badly / had an uncertain attitude
In all regions of Ukraine, the vast majority of residents have a bad attitude towards Russia, in particular, in the South 90% have a bad attitude, in the East - 85% (while in early February, respectively, 45% and 53% had a good attitude towards Russia). Russia in the East continues to have a relatively good attitude – 4%.
Graph3. Attitudes towards Russia in the regional dimension
The vast majority of citizens - 82% - who continue to live in the occupied territory after February 24, 2022 have a negative attitude towards Russia, and only 6% have a positive attitude towards it.
Graph4. Attitude towards Russia depending on where the respondent currently lives
Emotional background due to the Russian invasion
Top emotions that Ukrainians are aroused by Russia's war against Ukraine: anger / indignation / hatred / disgust (53%), pride for Ukraine / army (52%) and anxiety / fear / horror (38%).
Graph5. What emotions do you have about Russia's war against Ukraine? Choose up to 3 answers from the list.
Table 1 shows the data on the emotional background in the regional dimension. Although the situation is generally similar, there is a tendency from West to East of anxiety / fear / horror as well as shock.
Table 1. Emotional background in the regional dimension
Table 2 shows the data depending on where the respondent currently lives. It is important to see that even among those living under occupation, 41% are proud of Ukraine / the army.
Table2. Emotional background depending on where the respondent currently lives
A. Hrushetskyi. Methodical comments on the representativeness of telephone surveys conducted during the war.
Even before the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, there were a number of factors that negatively affected the representativeness of the polls (for example, the lack of a census for more than 20 years). Full-scale war, of course, greatly affects the representativeness and complicates the work of sociologists, but does not make it impossible. Access to reliable data on the state of mood in society remains relevant both for Ukrainians themselves and for our foreign partners (who, as events of the last 3 months have shown, often underestimated and misunderstood Ukraine and Ukrainians).
At the same time, in order to maintain objectivity, it is necessary to understand the limitations of the war on the conduct of opinion polls. First of all, we pay attention to large-scale population movements. Before the start of the field phase, according to the UN, it was estimated that about 6 million Ukrainians - adults and children - left Ukraine. There are no exact figures on how many of them are adults, but it is likely to be about half. Accordingly, among about 30 million adult citizens (estimated at the time of the full-scale invasion), about 10% have gone abroad, and it is not possible to provide a reliable survey of these citizens by telephone interviews. Even more citizens have become internally displaced persons, but they have a much lower impact on the quality of telephone surveys, as almost all of them have mobile phones and are eligible to participate in the survey (in fact, 15% of respondents are IDPs).
Another important issue is the reachability for surveying population of the territories occupied after February 24, 2022, due to the intensification of hostilities or telephone interruptions. Experience of conducting survey shows that most of the occupied territories have the technical ability to contact and interview residents (of course, if they feel safe). In total, 4% of respondents at the time of the interview lived in the occupied territories (and another 3% lived until February 24, 2022 in the settlements that were occupied, but left them for the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities). In the case of territories with active hostilities, they cover a small percentage of the total population of Ukraine (although we can not forget the tragic situation in which these people found themselves). In addition, a significant part of the population of the occupied territories and territories with hostilities, moved to safer places in the territory controlled by the authorities of Ukraine (or abroad). Accordingly, most likely, no more than 1-2% of the adult population of Ukraine are unreachable for the survey due to these factors.
In our opinion, a more significant impact on representativeness may have either a lower willingness to participate in polls of citizens with "pro-Russian" moods, or the insincerity of those who still took part in the poll (given the obvious facts and prevailing views in the media about the Russian invasion , some citizens "publicly" do not want to say what they really think). If we talk about the general willingness of respondents to participate in the survey, in recent surveys we see either the same indicators or slightly lower (although it should be borne in mind that lower willingness to participate in "pro-Russian" set up citizens may be offset by higher willingness to participate in "pro-Ukrainian" set up citizens).
We conducted a small methodological experiment, which shows that the citizens who are currently participating in the polls on demographic characteristics and meaningful moods are close to those who participated in the polls before February 24, 2022. Previously, we see some shift towards "pro-Ukrainian" set up citizens, which affects up to 4-6% deviations for separate questions (towards more frequent selection of answers that correspond to the "pro-Ukrainian" interpretation of events). In our opinion, this is a very optimistic indicator in the current conditions. However, this experiment does not answer how sincere the respondents are in their answers now.
Given our own observations and experience of conducting surveys over the years, we still remain optimistic that most respondents answer questions sincerely. In addition, we assume that the demographic categories of citizens who have gone abroad and are inaccessible for telephone interviews, at least now, do not differ significantly in a number of meaningful moods from similar demographic categories of citizens who remained in Ukraine.
As a result, in our opinion, we should talk about some decrease in representativeness and increase in error (in addition to the previously mentioned formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added due to the above factors), but the results still remain highly representative and allow to analyze public moods of population.
Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire
What emotions do you have about Russia's war against Ukraine? Choose up to 3 answers from the list. RANDOMIZATION OF READING
(% among all respondents)
* "Hatred" and "disgust" were not read to the respondents, but were added from "other" answers.
** "Army" was not read to the respondents, but was added from "other" answers.
What is your attitude toward Russia in general now?
(% among all respondents)
 The composition of macroregions is as follows: Western macroregion - Volyn, Rivne, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Zakarpattia, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi regions; Central macroregion - Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Chernihiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Kyiv regions, Kyiv city, Southern macroregion - Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa regions, Eastern macroregion - Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions.