What are Bulgarians Most Afraid of?
The dangers to the daily quality of life in Bulgaria are perceived as real, and the dangers of current geopolitics are also perceived as real, but not to such a high degree. Price problems dominate the mass consciousness in the country. Against this background, fears of war and related topics are also high, but not prominent.
The coronavirus seems to no longer scare Bulgarians as it once did. Fears of a migrant wave remain traditionally high. It is also worth noting the fact that the danger of permanent political instability is widely shared as quite realistic.
That's according to a Gallup International Poll. The agency tried to summarize the attitude towards the main recently highlighted dangers - whether and to what extent the Bulgarian society accepts them as real. It turns out that the fears are there and it seems that the Bulgarians have lived with them.
The structure of opinions
Nearly 90% consider real danger that the increase in prices in our country will become excessive. Here, society is practically unanimous. Dangers such as potential gas shortages and expensive heating are considered real by nearly 80% of Bulgarians.
Similar shares find the danger of permanent political instability in the country to be real.
Nearly 70% consider even a lack of electricity to be a real danger. Although this share is relatively lower compared to concerns about gas, the fact that Bulgaria is actually an exporter of electricity does not reach the people in the country. Social automatisms are visible.
Over 70% are preparing for a new migrant wave. However, this question seems to have already been part of the political agenda in recent years and is not as acute as the questions about the standard of living.
Even the deepening of the war in Ukraine, while shared as a real danger in the majority of cases, does not stand out as a real fear as much as the issues of everyday life. The question, of course, was asked before the latest intensification of the conflict, but it seems that there is no such sharpness in this matter. Bulgarian society is clearly not sufficiently aware of the danger that the country will in practice revise its positions vis-à-vis the West - less than 40% are aware of this threat as real. The structure of the answers to this question also shows a misunderstanding.
The latter is comparable to the estimates of the danger of the coronavirus - and here shares in the range below 40% find a real threat. Whether because of the currently low levels, whether because of the lower danger from Omicron in general or because of the global abandonment of the subject, Bulgarian society, by all accounts, prefers to end this issue.
The most anxious about material issues are, of course, older people with lower incomes. This is also directly related to party bias. On issues such as Bulgaria's relations with the West or the coronavirus, in addition to the not particularly high public excitability, there is also marked negativity among parties with more radical and critical positions towards the West.
Of course, when it comes to the virus, age remains the main determinant. Older ages also mean higher fear of the virus, regardless of party affiliation.
All the electorates in Bulgaria are unanimous in the expectation of political instability, it seems that the supporters of the older parties on the political field care the most about this topic. Apparently, for these parties, the issue of political stability is also part of the campaign agenda.
Naturally, even if for the most part they are in sync with everyone else, the supporters of the formations that ruled until recently do not share the main dangers to such an extent. Of course, the danger of reorienting our country is palpably shared among a section of these supporters.
However distinct the various dangers may be in type, one conventional arrangement shows the priority of social over geopolitical themes. This is hardly surprising in a society with serious aging, social inequalities and a predisposition to non-Western influences. At the same time, however, it reveals a certain vulnerability in the face of potential external dependencies.
The data is part of Gallup International Balkan's monthly independent research program. The research was conducted face-to-face with tablets between August 31 and September 8, 2022 among 1,000 Bulgarian adults. The sample is representative of the adult population of the country. The absolute maximum error is ±3.1% at 50% shares. 1% of the entire sample equals about 54 thousand people.
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