As campaigning ahead of Bulgaria’s May 26 European Parliament elections closes, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party has 31.1 per cent support and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) 26.6 per cent, according to the results of a poll by Alpha Research released on May 23.
This is a change from the results of a poll by Alpha Research released on May 3, at the start of campaigning, which showed the BSP as having 32.2 per cent and GERB 31.1 per cent.
In third place now is the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, 13.9 per cent, up from 9.3 per cent when campaigning started.
In fourth place is Krassimir Karakachanov’s ultra-nationalist VMRO, at six per cent, unchanged from the previous poll.
The Alpha Research poll, done between May 19 and 22, showed the populist Volya at 4.9 per cent, reformist Democratic Bulgaria at 4.2 per cent, socialist breakaway Coalition for Bulgaria at 3.2 per cent, Volen Siderov’s Ataka at two per cent, Valeri Simeonov’s ticket at two per cent, with 6.1 per cent distributed among the remaining parties, coalitions and independent candidates.
Alpha Research said that the number of those who said that they would vote on May 26 had increased slightly, to 35-36 per cent, but the trend of lower turnout for European Parliament elections remained. If this picture did not change by May 26, about 2.1 million Bulgaria voters would go to the ballot boxes.
Factors having impacts on voters’ decisions included the controversy over real estate acquisitions by politicians, disillusionment with politics and low interest in European issues.
Parties that had massive and aggressive media campaigns had attracted public attention and the votes of previously unaligned voters.
About 58 per cent of those polled had decided to vote for the party they are loyal to before the start of the campaign. However, almost every second respondent had made their choice in the course of the campaign – 15 per cent in the last two to three weeks, while 27 per cent would be making up their minds in the final days. This meant that last-minute surprises were possible, the polling agency said.
The final days would be decisive for the extra-parliamentary right and the nationalist-populist formations whose supporters fluctuated to the last, Alpha Research said.
It said that in recent weeks, GERB had been able to neutralise the damage done to it by the property acquisition controversies.
The relative weight of the vote for the BSP was decreasing. There were several reasons for this, including the fact that the BSP had failed to develop new topics, beyond calling for early National Assembly elections. The BSP’s MEP candidates had failed to mobilise voters, especially after Borissov became personally involved in the campaign. The BSP also had shed voters to the Coalition for Bulgaria.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms had, as expected, mobilised its voters in the last few days before the vote, as it traditionally did.
Democratic Bulgaria had a chance of a seat in the European Parliament if it could motivate its supporters to go to vote.
The poll was conducted between May 19 and 22 2019 by Alpha Research, using its own funds and has been posted on the agency’s website. The poll was done among 1016 adult Bulgarian citizens across the country. A stratified two-tiered sample was used on the basis of basic socio-demographic features. The information was gathered through a direct standardised interview at the homes of the respondents. Alpha Research is responsible for the data and interpretation posted on its site, but not for the selective or manipulative use of this data.