Survey for Bulgaria’s Elections: “We Continue the Change” with 1% lead over GERB
Parity between the coalitions “We Continue the Change” – “Democratic Bulgaria” /WCC-DB/ (26.4%) and GERB-SDS (25.2%) shows data from a survey by Alpha Research at the start of the election campaign.
The merger between “We Continue the Change” and “Democratic Bulgaria” gives them a symbolic initial lead over the main opponent GERB, but remains below their total result from the October vote. With turnout expected to be low, and depending on the campaign, it is possible for a relatively small number of votes to swing this distance significantly in either direction.
At the moment, WCC-DB enjoys the support of the most motivated supporters of both formations and could improve their positions if they manage to attract younger and less politically aware voters, who traditionally decide whether and for whom to vote in the last days of the campaign. Some of the staunch supporters of GERB-SDS, mostly residents of regional cities, have not yet found enough incentive to go to the polls on April 2. How each of the formations copes with these challenges will determine the winner of the vote and the recipient of the first mandate to form a government.
Although weaker, intrigue is also present for the third position. At the moment, it is occupied by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) with 13.2% of those who firmly decided to vote. Next to them is Vazrazhdane (11.3%), which stands out as one of the few formations that mobilized support in the period between the two elections.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) started the campaign with 7.4%, and even at this early stage a clear drop in its electoral support was registered. Internal contradictions drain supporters from the old party, who reorient themselves in different directions. The outflow is mostly to the newly formed “Levitsa” (the Left) coalition, but also to “Vazrazhdane” and “Bulgarian Rise”.
Three parties are relatively close to the electoral barrier, but at the start of the campaign they are still below it. Due to the relatively low mobilization of their sympathizers, “Bulgarian Rise” with 3.8%, “Levitsa: with 3.6% and “There Is Such a People” (TISP) with 3.2% remain in a kind of waiting room for the future National Assembly.
Weak motivation to participate in the elections and parity in the battle for first place was registered from a nationally representative survey done by Alpha Research agency.
The inability of the parties in the last four parliaments to issue a stable government, as well as the disbelief that a cabinet will be announced this time, demotivates voters to participate in the next parliamentary elections. The activity declared at the start of the campaign is comparable to that of October 2022 – 39%. 28% say they are undecided, and 33% are adamant that they will not vote. Relatively high mobilization is present among the most politicized voters, framing April 2 as a battle between the parties' most ardent sympathizers.
The pre-election moves undertaken by the political forces move the electoral picture, but without rearranging the overall political situation. The leading parties enter the race with equal positions, and the smaller formations will wait until the end to see if they will be able to pass the 4% barrier.
Regardless of whether the five relatively safe political forces will be represented in the 49th Parliament, or whether some of the "small" ones will enter as well, the challenge of projecting a regular government remains as high as it was before the 48th National Assembly. With the currently registered similar election result for WCC-DB and GERB-SDS, the options before each of the two leading and highly confrontational formations are either to try to govern with one of the other parties (with which they also have drawn deep dividing lines) , or to support in any form a general government.
A possible broad coalition between WCC-DB and GERB-SDS is categorically supported by only 5% of Bulgarians of legal age, and another 28% consider it a possible compromise, expressing moderate approval for it. A coalition between the first two is unwanted by 50 percent of Bulgarians. GERB supporters are more inclined to support this, while the majority of WCC-DB supporters remain distant. The voters of DPS, “Bulgarian Rise”, TISP are rather neutral, and among the strongest opponents of this possibility are the supporters of BSP and “Vazrazhdane”. However, it seems that the solution to the political crisis will not come from the voters, but from the ability of the party leaders to convince them of the correctness of their next actions, commented Alpha Research.
The present study was conducted in the period February 21-27, 2023. by Alpha Research, is published on the agency's website and is implemented with its own funds. The survey was conducted among 1,007 adult citizens from all over the country. A two-stage sample was used, stratified by region and type of settlement, with a quota based on the main socio-demographic characteristics. The information was collected through a direct standardized interview with tablets at the homes of the respondents.
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