A poll by the Alpha Research agency has found Boiko Borissov’s GERB still holding the largest share of support among those who would vote in an election, but slipping slightly, while support for the Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change (WCC) party has grown.
The poll, done between June 25 and July 1, found support for GERB at 21.5 per cent, down from 21.7 per cent in April, while over the same period, support for WCC rose from 18.4 per cent to 20.2 per cent.
The poll was done after a number of tumultuous political events in Bulgaria – cable television presenter Slavi Trifonov’s June 8 announcement of the withdrawal of his ITN party from the ruling coalition, the June 16 ouster of WCC’s Nikola Minchev as Speaker of Parliament, the June 22 vote of no confidence in the government, and the June 24 vote by Parliament mandating the government to accept the French proposal on resolving the North Macedonia issue.
As the poll was being conducted, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov announced on June 28 that 70 Russian diplomats were being expelled, while on July 1, WCC announced that Assen Vassilev, not Petkov, was its candidate Prime Minister.
The Alpha Research regular quarterly poll found the Bulgarian Socialist Party in third place, its support having risen from 10.2 per cent in April to 11.5 per cent in June.
In fourth place was the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, up from 7.6 per cent to 8.8 per cent.
Support for pro-Russian Vuzrazhdane, currently the smallest group in Parliament with 12 out of 240 MPs, dropped from 9.4 per cent to 7.9 per cent.
Democratic Bulgaria’s support has risen from 6.7 per cent to 7.1 per cent.
A new entry is former caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev’s Bulgaria Ascending party, at 5.4 per cent. Were the results of this poll to be borne out in an election, it would be the seventh of seven groups in Parliament, given the four per cent threshold for a share of seats in the National Assembly.
Trifonov’s ITN is now below that four per cent threshold, having dropped from 4.5 per cent to 3.3 per cent.
Those undecided about which party to vote for dropped from 12.6 per cent in April to 10.1 per cent in June.
Alpha Research said that WCC had achieved growth in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia and several large cities, while GERB was maintaining its support in smaller district capitals, towns and villages.
The agency said that the rise of Vuzrazhdane had stopped, both because of the exacerbation of the confrontation between GERB and WCC, which left Vuzrazhdane out of the main political focus, and because of the competition in the leftist-Russophile landscape from the BSP and Yanev’s Bulgaria Ascending party.
Alpha Research said that BSP leader Kornelia Ninova’s skilful manoeuvring between being part of the government and her “red lines” had managed to stabilise the party’s electoral support, but there were strong dynamics in this part of the spectrum.
Bulgaria Ascending started with just more than five per cent support and the coming months would show how votes would be distributed between it, the BSP and Vuzrazhdane, the agency said.
Democratic Bulgaria was holding on to its voters in Sofia and major cities, Alpha Research said.
Of those polled, 49.5 per cent wanted the election of a new government within the current Parliament, while 46.7 per cent wanted early elections.
Asked which governing coalition would do a better job of running the country, 31.9 per cent said one around WCC, while 25.2 per cent said that GERB would have done better in the current situation.
Just more than 20 per cent would prefer a completely different alternative.
Voters who prioritise economic problems and their material status more often choose a coalition around GERB, and those who emphasise corruption and its impact on economic processes, a coalition around WCC.
Support for head of state President Roumen Radev has fallen, with his approval rating dropping by eight points between April and June, from 51 per cent to 43 per cent.
Alpha Research attributed the drop in Radev’s approval rating, and the seven per cent rise in his disapproval rating, to his sharp clashes with the parties in the ruling coalition.
The government’s approval rating was slightly up after its supporters rallied after the vote of no confidence.
After April saw a dramatic drop in the government’s approval rating, it rose by three points, from 19 to 22 per cent. However, its disapproval rating was close to 46 per cent.
The approval ratings of WCC’s Petkov and Vassilev were about the same, at about 23 per cent, as were their disapproval ratings, at about 46 per cent.
Borissov’s approval rating was up by one per cent, to 20.2 per cent, while his disapproval rating was 57 per cent.
BSP leader Ninova’s approval rating was 18.6 per cent, with a 48.4 per cent disapproval rating, largely unchanged compared with April.
Democratic Bulgaria co-leader Hristo Ivanov’s approval rating was up by two per cent, to 18 per cent, while his disapproval rating dropped by seven points.
Vuzrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov’s approval rating dropped by four per cent, to 13 per cent, while the approval rating of Trifonov dropped by five per cent, to 8.5 per cent.
The 47th National Assembly has a disapproval rating of 60 per cent and an approval rating of 8.7 per cent – continuing the trend of years of a strikingly low disapproval rating of the legislature.
“Logically, approval is slightly higher among supporters of the governing coalition, but it does not exceed 15 per cent even among them,” Alpha Research said.