The picture of support for major political parties in Bulgaria was largely unchanged, but Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB widened the gap over the opposition socialists in the latest Alpha Research survey.
The poll results, announced on July 3, showed GERB as having 24.5 per cent support – up from 23.1 per cent in the previous Alpha Research survey from March – and Kornelia Ninova’s Bulgarian Socialist Party at 20.1 per cent, down from 20.5 per cent three months earlier.
Support for the United Patriots, the grouping of nationalist and far-right parties that is the minority partner in Borissov’s third government, showed a small decline of 0.2 percentage points to five per cent.
Opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms retained its fourth place, at 4.9 per cent, with an identical decline of 0.2 percentage points.
The one significant change, should parliamentary elections be held now in Bulgaria, is that Vesselin Mareshki’s populist Volya party – currently the smallest group in the National Assembly, with 12 MPs – would not be returned. It had 2.2 per cent support, according to Alpha Research. The threshold for election to the Bulgarian National Assembly is four per cent.
The Democratic Bulgaria coalition, formed in April largely around minority parties in which reformist and former justice minister Hristo Ivanov is a prominent leader, had the same level of support of 2.2 per cent.
The ratio of respondents who said that they did not intend to vote was 34.6 per cent, up from 33.2 per cent in the March poll.
Among leaders of parliamentary parties, Borissov retained the lead, with his recent foreign policy activity, a direct result of Bulgaria holding the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, bumping his approval rating by 1.6 percentage points to 37.2 per cent.
On the topic of the EU presidency, 37 per cent qualified it as successful so far and 13 per cent said it was not successful. Of the remainder, 27 per cent said that they did not follow the topic and 23 per cent did not have an opinion.
Krassimir Karakachanov, a co-leader of the United Patriots and leader of the nationalist VMRO party, has an approval rating of 25.2 per cent – among political party leaders, second only to Borissov – but down 4.6 percentage points since the last survey.
The other two United Patriots co-leaders showed diverging trends, with National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria party leader Valeri Simeonov’s rating going up by five percentage points to 16.4 per cent, while Ataka’s Volen Siderov saw his low approval rating drop further, from 6.4 per cent to 4.5 per cent.
BSP leader Ninova, a frequent and combative opponent to Borissov who has made every effort to stake her own prime-ministerial credentials over the past year, saw her approval dip further to 23.3 per cent, a decline of 3.1 percentage points.
By comparison, President Roumen Radev, elected on the socialist ticket in November 2016, enjoyed 54 per cent approval and only 11 per cent disapproval ratings, but his approval was down by five percentage points since March 2018.
The Alpha Research poll was carried out through 1017 face-to-face interviews in various cities and towns across Bulgaria between June 17 and 25.