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When elections should be held, attitudes towards online voting and attitudes towards possible restrictions on citizens' rights: results of a telephone survey conducted on September 30-October 11, 2023
The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, executive director of KIIS
From September 30 to October 13, 2023, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted an all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus", which included questions about when elections should be held and about attitudes to the possible restriction of citizens' rights during the recovery period. Bythemethodofcomputer-assistedtelephoneinterviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 2,007 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) were interviewed. The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine (within the boundaries controlled by the Ukrainian authorities until February 24, 2022). Residents of temporarily occupied territories could not be included in the sample, and the survey was not conducted with citizens abroad.
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%.
The press release also presents the results of the parallel wave of the "Omnibus" (also conducted by the method of telephone interviews) regarding the attitude to remote voting via the Internet. This question was asked to 1010 respondents (formal error – 2.4%). In addition, KIIS asked this question earlier in November 2021, so the corresponding dynamics are given.
Under conditions of war, in addition to the specified formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added. However, despite certain factors that may affect the quality of the results in "wartime" conditions, in general, we believe that the obtained results still retain a high degree of representativeness and allow a fairly reliable analysis of the public moods of the population.
When should elections be held
Recently, the question of the feasibility or impracticality of holding national elections now, during the war, has come up. According to the results of the KIIS survey as of October 2023 81% of respondents believe that elections should be held after the war and now is not the time. Believe that elections should already be held despite the war - 16%.
Graph 1. The powers of the Verkhovna Rada will end this autumn, and the powers of the President in the spring. When do you think elections should be held?
In all regions of Ukraine, the majority of the population opposes holding elections during the war.
Graph2. When should elections be held in the regional dimension
Attitudes towards the introduction of remote voting via the Internet
In addition to the issue of the presence / absence of a request for elections, the instrumental choice in which the elections should be conducted is legitimate in the eyes of the population. One of the obvious options in the era of digitalization is to introduce voting via the Internet. KIIS first asked this question in November 2021 and now we have repeated it again.
As can be seen, the majority of Ukrainians both before and now (65% as of October 2023) have a negative attitude to the idea of remote voting via the Internet and worry about the risks of falsification. Support the idea - 29%.
Graph 3. How do you feel about the idea of introducing the possibility of voting in elections via the Internet?
In all regions of Ukraine, the majority of the population (55-68%) has a negative attitude to the idea of introducing remote voting.
Graph 4. Attitudes to remote voting in the regional dimension
Possible limit of the rights of citizens for the recovery period
Although Ukrainians consider it expedient to postpone elections until after the war, at the same time 88% insist that a developed democratic system should be built in Ukraine in accordance with the norms of the European Union. 7% of respondents are in favor of restricting the rights of citizens for the period of recovery after the war.
Graph 5. With which of these statements do you agree to a greater extent?
In all regions of Ukraine, the absolute majority is against restrictions on the recovery period.
Graph6. Attitude to the possible limitation of citizens' rights for the period of recovery in the regional dimension
A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:
According to the results of a survey that KIIS previously conducted for NDI (May 2023), 95% of Ukrainians want Ukraine to be a fully functioning democracy and free and fair elections are one of the most important components for Ukrainians.
It is clear that elections are both a way to "cleanse" the government of those who did not live up to expectations, and an absolute confirmation of legitimacy. We are currently witnessing an increase in internal criticism of the central authorities, and the population is especially interested in renewing the Parliament and the Government (at the same time maintaining a high level of trust in the President). However, if earlier in the history of Ukraine the growth of criticism went hand in hand with the growth of demands for immediate elections, now Ukrainians insist that the priority is Victory, the elections are not timely and should be held already after the end of the war. That is, for Ukrainians, postponing the elections does not mean that the government loses its legitimacy, and Ukrainians are ready to postpone the electoral "cleansing" of the government until after the Victory.
In addition, the legitimacy for Ukrainians may, on the contrary, be undermined by holding elections now. So, millions of people will not be able to participate or will have numerous restrictions both as voters and as potential worthy participants in the race (primarily we are talking about military personnel and refugees abroad). And as we can see, the possible idea of introducing remote voting via the Internet runs into a distinct mistrust of the population. Accordingly, elections where millions of citizens do not participate, and voting takes place in a way that is questionable from the point of view of public trust, may be recognized as illegitimate, and at the same time it will be a blow to the legitimacy of the central government of Ukraine.
Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire
With which statement do you agree to a greater extent. RANDOMIZATION OF THE READING OF THE STATEMENTS THEMSELVES
The powers of the Verkhovna Rada will end this autumn, and the powers of the President in the spring. When do you think elections should be held? RANDOMIZATION OF THE ORDER
How do you feel about the idea of introducing the possibility of voting in elections via the Internet? RANDOMIZATION OF THE ORDER