Were Bulgaria to hold elections today, the new parliament would be largely similar to the one elected in October 2014, with Boiko Borissov’s GERB getting by far the largest share of votes and the Bulgarian Socialist Party running a poor second.
The difference would be that Nikolai Barekov’s Bulgaria Without Censorship, which got 5.6 per cent of the vote in October, would not return to parliament were elections to be held now, going by a poll released by the Exacta agency on March 9.
Exacta had among the most accurate forecasts shortly ahead of Bulgaria’s 2014 early parliamentary elections.
The pollsters said that GERB would get 27.4 per cent of the vote and the BSP 11.1 per cent.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms would again be in third place, with 8.2 per cent, meaning that the MRF has made further gains on the BSP.
The centre-right Reformist Bloc – currently the minority partner in Bulgaria’s coalition government – would again be in fourth place, with 5.5 per cent and the Patriotic Front – which generally lends parliamentary support to the government – would be fifth with 4.5 per cent.
Far-right ultra-nationalists Ataka and socialist breakaway ABC each would have about three per cent, below the threshold for entry to parliament, although in reality, trends in recent Bulgarian elections have enabled parties in this range to get in when the votes are counted.
According to Exacta, support for the BSP had fallen by three per cent since the elections, with support for its leader Mihail Mikov, elected ahead of the October 2014 vote to succeed Sergei Stanishev, also diminishing.
The poll found that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s approval rating had increased by four per cent since taking office, to 43 per cent. Over the same period, his disapproval rating fell by three per cent.
Thirty-one per cent approved of the cabinet’s performance, against 55 per cent who did not, the latter made up mainly of the over-60s and of people of low educational levels and low incomes. The cabinet’s approval rating was highest among Bulgarians with above-average income, aged between 50 and 60, with high levels of education and living outside Sofia.
Public approval for the military and the police had improved in March 2015, both to 35 per cent. However, the dispproval rating of the police came in at 46 per cent, against the army’s 33 per cent.
The pollsters added that distrust in the police had reduced slightly, by three per cent, probably because of the calmer situation in the country.
Confidence in the prosecution office and the courts was in the 13 to 14 per cent range, with their disapproval ratings at about 62 to 65 per cent.
More than 100 days after coming into office, Parliament had the approval of 18 per cent of Bulgarians and a disapproval rating of 67 per cent.
Exacta said that the survey was done between February 24 and March 4 among 1000 adult Bulgarians interviewed in their homes through two-stage cluster sampling, in 93 cities and towns. The agency paid for the survey itself.