In its first public opinion poll since the May 12 2013 parliamentary elections, the National Centre for the Study of Public Opinion (NCSPO) said on July 15 that GERB was likely to win early elections if they were held now, but saw a small decline in public support.
The party, headed by former prime minister Boiko Borissov, won the most seats in the election two months ago, but found itself shunned by the other four parties in Parliament and was unable to form a government.
If elections were held now, GERB would win, despite its approval ratings dropping one or two percentage points to 22-13 per cent, the polling agency said. The socialists, one of the two parties in the current ruling coalition, would come in second with public support of 19-20 per cent.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), the other party in the ruling coalition, was the only other party guaranteed a place in Parliament, with an approval rating of six to seven per cent.
Several other parties, including ultra-nationalist party Ataka (currently in Parliament) and former European Commissioner Meglena Kouneva’s Citizens for Bulgaria (not in Parliament), had approval ratings of about three per cent.
NCSPO’s survey is the second in recent days to offer voter preferences in case early elections are called. Last week, BBSS Gallup said that if snap polls were held in July, the socialists would win 21.6 per cent of the vote, followed by GERB with 17.8 per cent and MRF with 6.7 per cent.
As the anti-government protests against the Cabinet of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski enter their second month, NCSPO said that 47 per cent of the respondents in its survey supported early elections, versus 35 per cent against. (BBSS Gallup’s poll said that 39 per cent were opposed and 35 per cent were in favour of early elections.)
Regarding the protests themselves, NCSPO’s data showed 58 per cent supported the protests, compared to 39 per cent in the BBSS Gallup poll.
Concerning the early public reaction to the new political configuration of government after the May 12 elections, NCSPO’s poll found that Parliament had an approval rating of 26 per cent, while 65 per cent disapproved of its actions. The starting approval was lower than at the start of the previous legislature, the 41st National Assembly, which entered office with 42 per cent approval rating and 33 per cent disapproval, but higher than in the 40th National Assembly, elected in 2005, which started with an approval rating of 23 per cent and 60 per cent disapproval.
Oresharski’s Cabinet entered office with 32 per cent approval and 59 per cent disapproval, compared to 51 per cent approval and 20 per cent disapproval for Boiko Borissov in 2009. The socialist-led government of Sergei Stanishev in 2005, in which Oresharski was finance minister, entered office with 29 per cent approval and 50 per cent disapproval.
Oresharski himself had a public rating of 37 per cent approval and 51 per cent disapproval, the lowest rating for an incoming prime minister since 1997, according to NCSPO’s data.
Nevertheless, the approval rating was higher than that of any leader of the political parties in Parliament, edging out Borissov (34 per cent approval rating) and ahead of socialist leader Stanishev (27 per cent approval).
President Rossen Plevneliev’s approval rating remained unaffected in recent months, with 54 per cent of respondents saying that they approved of his recent actions (which included support for the ongoing protests and calls for early elections).
NCSPO said that its survey was carried out on July 3-10, on a representative sample of 1000 people, as part of its regular series of public opinion polls.
(Photo: Adam Ciesielski/sxc.hu)