With days to go to Bulgaria’s October 2 2022 early parliamentary elections, the results of a poll by the Alpha Research agency suggest that at least six, and possibly up to eight, groups could win seats in Parliament.
The results of the poll, released on September 30, the last official day of campaigning, show former prime minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB having 25.2 per cent support among those intending to vote, up from 23.4 per cent at the start of the campaign.
Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev’s We Continue the Change (WCC) was at 16.5 per cent, down from 17.5 per cent in Alpha Research’s poll at the beginning of September.
“There is a periphery of wavering voters around (WCC) and it could move in a wider band, but in low voter turnout, it would find it hard to make a bigger breakthrough,” the polling agency said.
Predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) had 13.1 per cent support (up from 10.9 per cent), followed by pro-Russian Vuzrazhdane on 11 per cent (up from 9.5 per cent) and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with 10.2 per cent (up from 9.8 per cent).
Alpha Research said that the three parties were all grouped very tightly. BSP’s result could vary widely, depending on voter mobilisation and the party’s fortunes depended on whether it could persuade its elderly voters to cast a ballot.
MRF’s result could be influenced strongly by voting abroad, Alpha Research said, a reference to the party’s traditional strong support among Bulgarian nationals living in Turkey.
Vuzrazhdane attracted the Russophile vote, but the negative public mood with regard to the partial military mobilisation decreed in Russia was acting as “an obstacle of sorts to that vote,” Alpha Research said. “Which factor will have the stronger influence will be decided literally in the last days of the campaign.”
Support for the centre-right Democratic Bulgaria coalition was 8.4 per cent, up from 7.5 per cent at the start of the campaign.
“The group got back some of its voters that voted for WCC in the last election, but the exchange of voters between them remains high and any one-way movement towards one of the two could lead to a reshuffling of their results,” Alpha Research said.
The polling agency noted that two parties were on the bubble – former caretaker prime minister Stefan Yanev’s Bulgaria Ascending had 4.4 per cent (up from 4.2 per cent) and cable television presenter Slavi Trifonov’s ITN at four per cent (up from 3.9 per cent).
“In both parties, the mobilisation of potential voters is relatively low and the doubts whether to vote for them or another party high. Their future parliamentary representation may hinge on a low number of votes on election day,” Alpha Research said.
The polling agency projected low turnout, around 45 per cent of those eligible to vote, and forecast that the number of ballots cast on October 2 would be less than the 2.67 million in the November 2021 election. “It is very possible that the number could fall below 2.6 million voters,” the agency said.
Among respondents in the survey that were determined to vote on election day, fully a quarter said that they were still wavering between several parties, Alpha Research said.
Given the projected low turnout, the order of finishing from second to fifth places was up for grabs. “Even though the difference in the number of votes received may be small, politically that could have major importance, both because of the potential coalition configurations and the constitutional procedure for the order of handing government mandates.”
On the topic of the likelihood that a government would be invested by the new 48th National Assembly, less than half of the respondents (47.1 per cent) were confident that a Cabinet could be formed.
The poll was done between September 27 and September 29 2022 by Alpha Research. The agency used its own funds to do the poll, the results of which have been published on its website. The poll was done among 1025 adult citizens from all over the country. A stratified two-stage sample with a quota according to the main socio-demographic characteristics was used. The information was collected through a direct standardized interview with tablets at the homes of the respondents. Alpha Research is responsible for the data and interpretation published on its site, but not for selective or manipulative use of such data, the agency said.
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