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Ukraine Poll: Political Disaffection Rife Among Young People Ahead of 2019 Elections

May 21, 2018

Kyiv, Ukraine—A nationwide poll of Ukraine by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research reveals widespread political disaffection among Ukrainian youth, significant need for healthcare reform and high level of distrust of Russian media outlets.

“As Ukraine’s young people are the age group most in favor of membership with the European Union, their political disengagement is troubling—particularly as Ukraine looks ahead to presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019,” said Stephen Nix, IRI Regional Director for Eurasia. “It is crucial that the government and Ukraine’s political parties take robust steps to win the confidence of voters, including youth, by addressing the issues of greatest concern to citizens.”

A combined 20 percent of Ukrainians ages 18-35 believe that that they will have a good future in Ukraine, while less than one third intend to “definitely” vote in the next election.

The poll also reveals that the majority of Ukrainians have extremely low confidence in the country’s healthcare sector. More than half do not believe the state would provide any care if they were diagnosed with a serious illness, and the data indicate that this belief is more prevalent in eastern Ukraine than in western Ukraine. 

“This troubling research underscores the importance of the recently passed healthcare reform under acting Minister of Health, Ulana Suprun, which seeks to bring Ukraine’s Soviet-era medical system in line with modern European standards,” said Nix. “It is IRI’s hope that this legislation, which began to be rolled out in April, will make considerable improvements to the existing healthcare system.” 

The survey provides insights into Ukraine’s media environment, which is characterized by a high level of distrust Russian outlets. Ukrainians rated Russian media as the most biased sources of information available, and also indicated a general distrust of media platforms.

“Ukraine has been on the frontlines of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign for years, so it is unsurprising that this has imbued Ukrainians with a natural skepticism of both Russian media and media in general,” said Nix.

Methodology

The survey was conducted by Rating Group Ukraine on behalf of the International Republican Institute’s Center for Insights in Survey Research. ​The survey was conducted throughout Ukraine (except for the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbas) from March 15-31, 2018. The sample consisted of 2,400 permanent residents of Ukraine aged 18 and older and eligible to vote. It is representative of the general population by gender, age, region, and settlement size. The margin of error does not exceed 2.0 percent for the full sample, and the response rate is 65.4 percent.​ The survey was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).