The public approval rating in Bulgaria of the police has fallen 13 per cent since summer 2013, opinion survey agency Exacta said on December 20.
The pollsters said that police violence during anti-government protests was the likely cause of the falling approval rating.
Against a background of a continuing political crisis and wide public support for anti-government protests demanding the resignation of the current Bulgarian Socialist Party government and fresh elections, approval ratings of almost all major state institutions have fallen.
According to the agency, founded by people from the National Centre for the Study of Public Opinion which was targeted for closure by the current government, Bulgaria’s 42nd National Assembly had lost seven per cent of its approval rating in recent months.
At the same time, the government’s approval rating had fallen five per cent, to 27 per cent.
In counterpoint, public approval of public media has risen – notable because the BSP government earlier showed its irritation at the objective coverage by Bulgarian National Television and Bulgarian National Radio of the anti-government protests that began in June.
The ruling axis, in the 2014 national budget, cut BNT’s budget by five million leva.
But according to Exacta, BNT’s approval rating had gone up to 69 per cent, that of BNR to 59 per cent and Bulgarian news agency BTA’s to 52 per cent.
As to support for political parties, the results of the Exacta poll were notably different from those produced in recent weeks by other agencies, both the reliable Alpha Research agency and other agencies that have a track record of favouring the BSP.
While Alpha Research gave the BSP a narrow lead over right-wing opposition party GERB, a lead seen as wider by some other agencies, Exacta saw GERB with 23.5 per cent and the BSP with 22.3 per cent.
Exacta said that its poll results were that the Reformist Bloc, an alliance of a number of extra-parliamentary right-wing and centrist parties, had 5.8 per cent support, and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms 5.5 per cent.
The agency, like others, saw the Bulgaria without Censorship party formed around former journalist Nikolai Barekov as failing to make the grade for seats in the legislature, tying at three per cent with Valeri Simeonov’s ultra-nationalist National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria, both slightly ahead of scandal-hit Volen Siderov’s Ataka party, which was at 2.7 per cent.
The Bulgarian politician with the highest approval rating, 50 per cent, was Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, elected in 2009 on a GERB ticket and re-elected in 2011 on the same ticket.
In second place was President Rossen Plevneliev, at 42 per cent approval rating, who became head of state in January 2012 after being elected on a GERB ticket.
Third was Plevneliev’s predecessor as head of state, former BSP leader Georgi Purvanov, with 41 per cent approval and 43 per cent disapproval ratings, according to Exacta.
GERB leader Boiko Borissov was fourth with a 32.4 per cent approval and 57 per cent disapproval rating.
Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church also saw its approval ratings plummet, shedding 20 per cent against a background of a number of controversies, such as the initial row around the election of a new Varna Metropolitan and wide coverage in the Bulgarian-language media of an alleged gay relationship controversy at Troyan Monastery.
These controversies also had hit the approval rating of Patriarch Neofit, elected in February 2013, who had now lost 12 per cent of his approval rating.
Exact said that the poll, commissioned by local news agency Focus, wad done from December 5 to 13 among 1000 Bulgarians in 86 cities, towns and villages.