Public’s Confidence in Government Still Low, But Grows Under Groysman, Poll Finds
Kyiv Post
By Denys Krasnikov

The public’s disapproval of the activities of the Ukrainian government has dropped by around a third since Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman took over from his predecessor Arseniy Yatsenyuk in mid-April, a new study by the International Republican Institute has found.

However, a majority of the public (71 percent) think things are still going in the wrong direction in Ukraine.

Overall disapproval of the government in June was 59 percent (20 percent approval), compared to 89 percent (7 percent) in February, according to the poll, which was published on July 8. The polled quizzed 2,400 residents of Ukraine aged 18 and older and eligible to vote.

The IRI’s regional director for Eurasia, Stephen Nix, said that the drop in disapproval in the activities of the government could be connected to public perceptions of progress on reforms.

“It’s no secret that the (Ukrainian President Petro) Poroshenko’s government has faced significant challenges, but this poll – one of many that IRI has conducted in recent years – could suggest a glimmer of hope for the newly-appointed Prime Minister Groysman,” said Nix.

He said the government’s decision to adopt a number of reforms, including measures to enhance judicial accountability, was a promising start.

“Now it must make use of this window of opportunity to ensure that these reforms are properly implemented,” Nix said.

The modest decline in strong public disapproval of the activities of the country’s parliament, from a high of 59 percent in February to 46 percent in this poll, could also represent an opportunity for continued reform, pollsters said. However, Ukrainians also remain skeptical at the prospect of the government bringing an end to the political crisis.

According to the poll, 60 percent of respondents believe the Groysman-led Cabinet of Ministers won’t bring significant change to the country, and only 20 percent said that the current Cabinet of Ministers might change Ukraine for the better.

The poll also quizzed Ukrainians in detail on the issue of corruption in Ukraine.

Asked about which was the most important problem facing Ukraine, 39 percent said that it was corruption, and 24 percent said fight against corruption should be a top priority for the authorities.

About 53 percent of respondents said they learned about the high level of corruption in the country from the mass media, while 32 percent said they knew about it either because they had encountered it themselves, or it had been a problem for their relatives or friends.

Meanwhile, the public named Batkivshyna lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko as the politician they trust the most (45 percent approval, against 34 percent disapproval). Groysman lags far behind the former Kremlin detainee Savchenko, with approval/disapproval figures of 24 percent and 63 percent respectively, but he is ahead of President Poroshenko, whose public approval level is only 19 percent (71 percent disapproval).

The survey was conducted by Rating Group Ukraine on behalf of the IRI Center for Insights in Survey Research, with funding support from the Canadian government. Data was collected throughout Ukraine from May 28 to June 14, 2016, through face-to-face interviews at the respondents’ homes.

The poll’s margin of error does not exceed 2.8 percent.

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