Approval of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and his centre-right GERB party are continuing to rise while the main opposition parties have lost support, according to the results of an Alpha Research poll released on November 23.
Alpha Research, arguably the most reliable among Bulgaria’s opinion polling agencies, said that a survey done after the October 25 municipal elections had found Borissov’s approval rating to be 38.3 per cent while support for GERB – the majority partner in the coalition government formed in November 2014 – was 24.5 per cent. Support for Borissov has increased for the 15th consecutive month.
A June poll by Alpha Research had found Borissov’s approval rating to be 33 per cent, rising since he returned to office as head of government last November, and with the GERB leader alone among major Bulgarian political party leaders to see his ratings improve.
According to previous polls by Alpha Research, GERB had 21.9 per cent support in June 2015 and 22.4 per cent in April 2015.
The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the second-largest party by far in the current National Assembly, continues its slide. In April, it had 10.2 per cent support, having shed 1.2 per cent since January. In June, the BSP had 11.5 per cent. Alpha Research found that currently, support for the BSP had dropped to 8.4 per cent.
The figures for the BSP came against a background of its dismal performance in the October-November 2015 municipal and mayoral elections. BSP leader Mihail Mikov, elected to head the party in July 2014 after the resignation of Sergei Stanishev, declined to resign as party leader after the 2015 elections.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms, currently Parliament’s third-largest party – its customary place in a succession of legislatures – had 6.8 per cent support, Alpha Research said. In the agency’s April 2015 poll, the MRF was shown as having seven per cent support, which rose to 7.3 per cent.
The centre-right Reformist Bloc, minority partner in the coalition government, has seen an increase in support, according to the Alpha Research poll – although the bloc has had its ups and downs this year, going by previous polls.
In April, the Reformist Bloc was seen as having 5.8 per cent support, having lost 0.7 per cent since the previous poll, in January. In June, support for the bloc was at 5.7 per cent. Now, according to Alpha Research, it had 6.5 per cent support.
The nationalist Patriotic Front, which supports the coalition government in Parliament without having seats in the Cabinet, has seen a decline in support. Alpha Research’s April poll had shown support for the PF at 5.7 per cent, a figure that remained unchanged in June. But now support was down to 4.2 per cent.
Georgi Purvanov’s socialist breakaway ABC, which has a Deputy Prime Minister in Borissov’s Cabinet, has risen from 2.2 per cent in January to 3.5 per cent in June and the same figure again in November.
Probably hardly surprisingly given the scandals surrounding Ataka leader Volen Siderov, that party’s support has dropped significantly. Alpha Research said that in April, it had 3.1 per cent and in June it had 3.2 per cent, but in November this had shrunk to 1.8 per cent. For a party to get seats in Bulgaria’s Parliament, it needs to cross a four per cent threshold.
The most-liked Cabinet minister remains Liliyana Pavlova (GERB), with a 36.5 per cent approval rating. Others with significant positive ratings include Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU funds and economic policy Tomislav Donchev (GERB), Deputy Prime Minister in charge of social policy Ivailo Kalfin (ABC) and Health Minister Petar Moskov (Reformist Bloc).
Compared to June, the personal rating of head of state President Rossen Plevneliev has risen by four per cent, approval coming mainly from the social groups which actively supported a yes vote in the October 25 referendum on whether Bulgaria should allow online voting in future elections and referendums.