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Dynamics of readiness for territorial concessions to end the war as soon as possible: results of a telephone survey conducted on November 29-December 9, 2023
The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, executive director of KIIS
From November 29 to December 9, 2023, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus". Bythemethodof computer-assistedtelephoneinterviews(CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 1,031 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR 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 authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories that were not temporarily controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022 (AR of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts), 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 3.4% for indicators close to 50%, 3.0% for indicators close to 25%, 2.1% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 5%.
Under conditions of war, in addition to the specified formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added. KIIS previously cited factors that can affect the quality of results in "wartime" conditions.
In general, we believe that the obtained results are still highly representative and allow for a fairly reliable analysis of the public moods of the population.
Readiness for territorial concessions
Since May 2022, KIIS in its own surveys regularly asks questions about the population's readiness for territorial concessions in order to achieve peace and preserve independence as soon as possible. Now, in December 2023, we have re-asked this question to assess the dynamics of public moods, which allows us, in particular, to understand how public attitudes have changed since the invasion.
Graph 1 shows the respondents' answers. In the period from May 2022 to May 2023, the situation was relatively stable: about 8-10% of respondents were ready for territorial concessions, and the absolute majority - 82-87% - consistently opposed any concessions. After May 2023, there is a gradual increase in the share of those who are ready for territorial concessions: from 10% in May to 14% in October and up to 19% in December. Along with this, there is a tendency to decrease the share of those who oppose territorial concessions (from 84% in May to 80% in October and to 74% in December), although as of now, a clear majority of Ukrainians still believe that Ukraine should not give up from any of its territories.
Graph 1. With which of these statements regarding possible compromises to achieve peace with Russia do you agree to a greater extent?
Starting in May 2022, KIIS used the region where respondents lived until February 24, 2022 to analyze regional differences. The graph below shows the dynamics in this dimension. At the same time, further on in graph 3, the data are shown by the region where the respondents live at the time of the survey.
If between May and October 2023 the increase in the share of those who are ready for territorial concessions was mainly at the expense of the South and the East, then the increase between October and December was at the expense of the West and the Center. Thus, in the West, the share of such respondents increased from 9% in October to 20%, in the Center - from 10% to 15%. In the South and East, changes in the share of those who are ready to make concessions are much less noticeable, although there are also negative trends (regarding a decrease in the share of those who are against no concessions).
Along with this, in all regions, a clear majority of respondents (from, respectively, 68% and 69% in the South and East to 76 and 79% in the West and in the Center) still oppose Russia's territorial concessions.
Graph 2. Readiness for territorial concessions in the regional dimension (by place of residence until February 24, 2022)
If to analyze in terms of the region of residence as of the time of the interview (i.e. December 2023), similar trends can be observed. Even among residents of the South and East, who are closest to the war zone, 67% are against any territorial concessions (at the same time, 22% of those living in the South and 25% of those living in the East are ready to make concessions). The situation among residents of the West and the Center is only slightly different in the direction of only slightly lower readiness for territorial concessions.
Graph 3. Readiness for territorial concessions in the regional dimension (by place of residence as of December 2023)
Possibility of Ukraine achieving success with proper support from the West and actions in the event of a significant reduction in aid in terms of readiness for territorial concessions
Earlier this week, KIIS published the results of the same survey on whether respondents generally believe in Ukraine's success in case of proper support from the West. And also what should be the actions in the event of a significant reduction in Western support. The graphs below show how respondents answered these questions depending on whether they are ready for territorial concessions or against them.
Respondents who support territorial concessions are indeed more pessimistic in their views - 22% among them believe that Russia is too strong and even adequate help from the West will not help. However, the majority (71%) of those who are ready for territorial concessions believe that with proper support from the West, Ukraine will be able to achieve success.
Among those who are against territorial concessions, 93% are sure of success with proper support from the West.
Graph 4. Possibility of Ukraine achieving success with the proper support of the West depends on its readiness for territorial concessions
On the other hand, the categories of respondents regarding the readiness of territorial concessions have opposite views on the strategy of actions in the event of a significant decrease in support for the West. Among respondents who are ready for territorial concessions, 69% would consider it expedient to stop hostilities with serious security guarantees (28% are in favor of continuing hostilities). At the same time, among respondents who are against any territorial concessions, even under the condition of a significant limitation of aid, 70% are in favor of the continuation of hostilities (and 22% are in favor of their cessation).
Graph 5. Actions in the event of a significant reduction in aid from the West depending on readiness for territorial concessions
A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:
In recent years, one can observe how the "dictionary" of experts and journalists (as well as ordinary citizens) is replenished with specific terms from the field of social sciences and statistics. For example, you can see more active use of the term "correlation", and many mention "black swans". One of the terms that is now beginning to be used more often is "regression to the mean". It means that after spikes in certain indicators, they can be expected to "return" to more usual ("average") values.
In Ukraine, after the large-scale invasion, there was a surge of optimism, which, in particular, was accompanied by categoricalness in matters of territorial concessions. It was natural to expect that the longer the war lasted, the more we would witness a "return" of the indicators to somewhat lower levels. For a certain period, optimism was supported by bright victories in the North of Ukraine, Kharkiv region and Kherson region, however, against the background of a difficult 2023, we see downward trends. In the conditions of high uncertainty, it is difficult to say what the future trajectory will be - it is quite possible that the readiness to make concessions will increase somewhat, but will further stabilize (with a predominance of those who oppose no concessions). Currently, it can be safely assumed that the position of Western partners and their proper support of Ukraine will be key to public moods.
Considering that the decline in optimism was almost inevitable, instead of "sprinkle head with ashes" it is worth looking at the dynamics from a different angle. A powerful state with large resources, strong corrupt influence in the West and even a nuclear arsenal has been waging war against Ukraine for almost two years. It would be quite justified to assume a total imbued with pessimism and despair. Despite this and despite the unrealistic expectations from 2023, a clear majority of the population is still against any concessions. The majority of the population in all regions of Ukraine is against any concessions, and even those that are currently particularly suffering from the Russian invasion. Therefore, maintaining a fairly high level of support for the refusal of territorial concessions is a good result for society and another proof of its stability.
In addition, it is important to note once again that even among those who are generally ready to make concessions, the majority believe in Ukraine's success if the West provides adequate support. This is the cry of the soul of ordinary Ukrainians, who call on Western partners not to delay their help.
Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire
With which of these statements regarding possible compromises to achieve peace with Russia do you agree to a greater extent? RANDOMIZATION OF READING
(% among all respondents)