The GERB party candidate in Bulgaria’s November 2016 presidential elections, Tsetska Tsacheva, has 29.3 per cent support, with the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s Roumen Radev in second place at 21.4 per cent, according to the results of a poll by the Alpha Research agency released on October 17.
In third place was the “I don’t support anyone” option, with 10.8 per cent.
If the “I don’t support anyone” option is discounted, in third place is Krassimir Karakachanov, presidential candidate for the nationalist Patriotic Front-Ataka electoral coalition the United Patriots, with 8.7 per cent.
Alpha Research said that it was highly likely that the November 2016 presidential elections would go to a second-round runoff, most probably between Tsacheva and Radev.
In fourth place, according to the poll, was ABC candidate Ivailo Kalfin (6.8 per cent), in fifth Reformist Bloc candidate Traicho Traikov (five per cent), followed by Movement 21-NMSP presidential candidate Tatyana Doncheva (4.7 per cent), business person Vesselin Mareshki (3.3 per cent), George Ganchev (1.2 per cent), Velizar Enchev (1.1) and Plamen Oresharski (0.5 per cent).
Alpha Research grouped together the remaining 11 out of the 21 candidates as collectively having 7.5 per cent of the vote.
The polling agency said that the number of people who intended voting had risen by seven per cent compared with September, but it was difficult to say whether this was due to mobilisation of electorates or because of voting in these elections being compulsory by law.
Alpha Research forecast voter turnout of about 61 per cent, or just more than 3.5 million people.
The “I don’t support anyone” option had the most support among groups that usually did not vote – younger Bulgarians, students and residents of large urban centres.
The poll found that the electoral weight of the parties behind the candidates generally had an effect on the positions of those candidates, with about three weeks to go to the presidential elections.
Kalfin and Doncheva had popularity double that of their respective parties, but still just around five to six per cent, though this could increase as the campaigns went on.
Tsacheva had 75 per cent from among supporters of GERB, but not from other parties.
The turmoil in the Reformist Bloc was hampering support for Traikov.
But unlike the situation on the right, there was a much greater sharing out of voters on the leftist and nationalist spectirum.
About two-thirds of BSP supporters backed Radev but the rest supported Kalfin, Doncheva and Karakachanov.
Nationalists were split between support for their official candidate and other candidates espousing similar views.
The scene could be set for a dramatic second round, with Tsacheva possibly attracting additional supporters from the Reformist Bloc, while those who voted for Kalfin, Karakachanov, Doncheva and other weaker candidates opting for Radev at a second round.
There is an open question what would happen with the electorate of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, whose supporters said that they had not decided or would vote “I don’t support anyone”.
The opinion poll was conducted between October 8 and 13 2016 by Alpha Research, published on the website of the agency and was carried out using the agency’s own funds. It was conducted among 1025 adult Bulgarians. The survey used a stratified two-stage sample with a quota on the main socio-demographic characteristics. The information was collected through direct interviews at the homes of respondents.
Alpha Research said it was responsible for the data and interpretation, published on its website, but not for selective or manipulative use of such data.