Bulgaria: Voting Intentions Two Days before Election
GERB's lead over the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) has increased to just over 8 points. Near the end of the campaign for the April 4 parliamentary elections, GERB gets 28.1 per cent support among firm voters. The BSP remains in
second place with 19.8 per cent, but the data show a gradual ebb of supporters.
These data come from an Alpha Research poll at the end of the election campaign, published on Thursday. The survey was
conducted on March 27-30 among 1,007 adult Bulgarians.
According to the sociologists, the BSP is most seriously affected by concerns about voting amid a pandemic (25 per cent of BSP supporters expressed strong concern, compared to an average of 10 per cent nationwide). On the other hand, some BSP supporters are switching preferences to other anti-government formations, mostly "Rise Up! Thugs Out!''.
The next two political formations have similar poll results: There Is Such a People (TISP) gets 12.7 per cent and Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) 12.5 per cent. The final results for both parties will be highly dependent on the voter turnout on April 4. The support for Slavi Trifonov's TISP party is based mostly on an emotional, anti-systemic vote by people who are not particularly interested in politics, which means that they can easily become active, but can just as easily be demotivated and choose not to participate because they do not have a special stake in the election. According to the analysts, a lower voter turnout would place the MRF at an advantage. Alpha Research says that polls do not take into account the votes cast abroad, and that the MRF traditionally receives a lot of votes from the Bulgarian diaspora.
Both Democratic Bulgaria (6.3 per cent) and Rise Up! Thugs Out! (6 per cent) show a steady increase in support during the
campaign. There is also a difference in the profile of their supporters. The so-called "urban right-wing" Democratic Bulgaria has more loyal voters, especially in the capital and big cities. The new alliance around Maya Manolova, Rise Up! Thugs Out!, can count on more votes in the provinces and from disappointed left-wing voters. In this case, as in the case of
Slavi Trifonov's party, lower political motivation could prove to be a weakness on Election Day.
The study shows significant dynamics when it comes to the nationalist parties. For VMRO, Volya-NFSB, Ataka and
Vazrazhdane, the campaign has become a kind of an "internal" battle for the radical and populist vote, analysts say. With
support of about 4 per cent, VMRO is closest to the electoral threshold. However, the Volya-NFSB coalition has seen the most tangible growth as it has almost tripled its support to 3.1 per cent since the start of the campaign. Vazrazhdane (1.7 per cent) and Ataka (1.2 per cent) are also vying for those votes, albeit with lower support.
One in ten respondents who have decided to vote have serious concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, while 36 per cent have "some concerns". If these fears prevail on Election Day, significant shifts in the current electoral picture are possible. Thus, until the last moment, the virus will hold the trump card, said Alpha Research.
The survey registered a very slight increase in the declared turnout, with 51 per cent of permanent residents in Bulgaria
stating that they will vote. On this basis, it is expected that between 2.6 and 2.8 million people will go to the polls. Such a
development will affect not just the votes for the parties, but may also cause a shift in their positions, the sociologists
Similarly to lower voter turnout, the continuing vote fragmentation increases the chances of core parties, while
higher turnout increases those of new political forces relying on disappointment and protest voting. Six or seven parties have
the potential to get over 4 per cent threshold, but no political force will be close to a majority in Parliament, the
The survey found that the election campaign influenced just under half of the 450,000 undecided voters of a month ago.
Volya-NFSB, Democratic Bulgaria and Rise Up! Thugs Out! registered the most tangible increase in support in recent
About 25 per cent of firm voters opt for machine voting, while 55.5 per cent prefer the traditional paper ballot. More active
machine voting can be expected in large cities, where the majority of young and highly educated voters are concentrated.
Among almost all party electorates the preference for paper ballots prevails. Preferences are split evenly only among the
electorate of Democratic Bulgaria./BTA
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