Results of an Alpha Research poll released on November 3, three days before Bulgaria’s 2016 presidential elections, show a tight race between the two leading candidates and big shifts among other candidates since the agency’s October 17 poll.
In short, the poll – by one of Bulgaria’s most reliable opinion polling agencies – can lead to the conclusion that the outcome of a second-round vote is by no means predictable.
The first round of Bulgaria’s presidential elections will be on November 6. All polls suggest that there will be a second round because the first round will see no outright winner. If there is a second round, it will be on November 13.
Alpha Research said that in the first-round contest, GERB candidate Tsetska Tsacheva had 26.3 per cent support. Her main rival, the nominee of an initiative committee but really the candidate of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, Roumen Radev, had 22.5 per cent.
Compared with Alpha Research’s previous poll, this means Tsacheva has dropped from her October 17 support of 29.3 per cent, and Radev has gained, from his previous 21.4 per cent.
Among the remainder of the total of 21 presidential candidates, six others had percentages worth recording.
In third place, according to the Alpha Research poll, was Krassimir Karakachanov, the candidate of the “United Patriots” – an electorate alliance of the nationalist National Movement for the Salvation of Bulgaria, Volen Siderov’s Ataka and Karakachanov’s VMRO – with 12.5 per cent.
Fourth was business person Vesselin Mareshki, well-known in Bulgaria for his lower-price pharmacy and fuel businesses, with 7.1 per cent.
This is a significant jump for Mareshki. In the Alpha Research poll, the results of which were released on October 17, Mareshki had 3.3 per cent.
In fifth place in the new Alpha poll was Plamen Oresharski, with 6.9 per cent. This is a huge jump; the October 17 poll by the same agency gave him 0.5 per cent. But since that poll, Oresharski, who sat in the prime minister’s chair in the 2013/14 administration, was publicly endorsed by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the third-largest party in Bulgaria’s National Assembly.
As Mareshki has taken over fourth place from ABC’s Ivailo Kalfin, Oresharski has taken over fifth place from the Reformist Bloc’s Traicho Traikov, going by the Alpha Research November 3 poll.
At the same time, Traikov had gained slightly, from five per cent to 5.2 per cent, and was in sixth place.
ABC’s Kalfin was now in seventh place, with 5.1 per cent. This is a decrease from the 6.8 per cent support shown in the October 17 poll by Alpha Research.
Tatyana Doncheva, the candidate of a joint ticket between the Movement 21 party that she leads and the National Movement for Stability and Progress, was seen in the new poll as in eighth place with 2.6 per cent. The October 17 poll by Alpha Research showed Doncheva in sixth place with 4.7 per cent.
Alpha Research’s November 3 poll showed that 69 per cent of eligible Bulgarian voters intended to cast a ballot on November 6 – seemingly leaving no doubt that the election would be legally valid, in terms of the statutory requirement of at least a 50 per cent turnout as a criterion.
The much-talked about option of “I don’t support anyone” – the 22nd box on the presidential election ballot paper – now had the support of 6.1 per cent. This is a drop for “I don’t support anyone”, from 10.8 per cent. Presumably, this may mean that of the Bulgarians polled, more now do support…someone.
The Alpha Research poll results released on November 3 2016 were the result of a survey commissioned and funded by Bulgarian television channel Nova Televizia. The poll was conducted between October 31 and November 2. It was conducted among 1034 adult citizens across the country, through direct interviews in the homes of respondents.