Although the present President dominated the electoral campaign politically, electorally he hardly received more than 50% of votes. At the same time, although T. Korotkevich’s rating was comparable with the rating of, for example, A. Milinkevich in 2006, her electorate’s structure was significantly different from other politicians’.
Before the elections of 2006 IISEPS published an analytical material dedicated to the pre-electoral “landscape” under the title “Another Alexander, another Belarus”. It demonstrated that electorates of the two leaders of the campaign (Alexander Milinkevich and Alexander Lukashenko) were opposite both by political setups and by socio-demographic characteristics. Among the supporters of A. Lukashenko prevailed pensioners, people with low level of education, rural citizens; among A. Milinkevich supporters were mostly young people, people with higher education and Minsk citizens. Supporters of the oppositional candidate mostly preferred Eurointegration for Belarus, while A. Lukashenko’s supporters preferred integration with Russia.
In September 2015 material of IISEPS (see “Comparison of electorates: phenomenon of Korotkevich”, http://www.iiseps.org/?p=3737) we demonstrated, first, that T. Korotkevich managed to acquire support of a noticeable part of voters in a short period of time, and, second, that her electorate is significantly different from the traditional oppositional electorate.
December 2015 survey, conducted after the election, confirmed these theses. Returning to the name of decade old article, we may say that T. Korotkevich’s campaign demonstrated that there is the “third Belarus”, which is neither pro-Lukashenko, nor pro-opposition.
According to December survey (closed question) 35.6% of respondents voted for A. Lukashenko, 15.7% – for T. Korotkevich, 5.2% – for S. Gaydukevich, and 1.9% – for N. Ulakhovich. 8.9% of respondents declared that they voted against all candidates, and 32.5% didn’t answer the question. At the same time, 70% of respondents confirmed that they took part in the voting.
Similar post-election survey conducted in April 2006 demonstrated that 15.8% of respondents voted for A. Milinkevich. In this regard T. Korotkevich didn’t break the record: according to our survey, the share of respondents, who voted for her, is equal to the share of respondents who voted for A. Milinkevich 9 years ago.
In order to compare T. Korotkevich’s electorate to electorates of other politicians, we are using the answers to an open question on hypothetical voting in presidential elections. Answering it, 33.3% of respondents entered the name of A. Lukashenko, 9.9% – T. Korotkevich. Besides them, 16 other politicians were entered. We picked out democratically oriented politicians, and distinguish their united electorate, which we are calling “opposition outside elections”. They are A. Kozulin, A. Milinkevich, Z. Poznyak, A. Lebedko, S. Shushkevich, Y. Romanchuk, G. Kostusyov, V. Neklyaev, A. Sannikov, N. Statkevich and D. Dashkevich. Their total electorate amounted to 8%.
Socio-demographic characteristics of electorates are presented in Table 1.
Table 1. Socio-demographic characteristics of electorates, %
|Characteristics||All respondents||For A. Lukashenko (closed rating)||For T. Korotkevich (closed rating)||Opposition outside elections (open rating)|
|Higher (incomplete higher)||19.5||15.7||25.8||39.0|
|Private sector employee||18.5||9.6||26.6||30.0|
|Public sector employee||25.9||26.9||21.5||29.8|
The biggest difference that hits the eye is the gender structure. T. Korotkevich’s electorate is the most “feminine”, while the electorate of “opposition outside elections” is distinctly “masculine”. However, according to other parameters Korotkevich’s elector is intermediate between two electorates. The share of pensioners and people over 60 in T. Korotkevich electorate is bigger than in “opposition outside elections” electorate, but smaller than in A. Lukashenko’s; as for the shares of people with higher education and Minsk citizens, the dependency is inverse. The difference by settlement type is especially striking: almost each second supporter of “opposition outside elections” lives in the capital, while T. Korotkevich’s supporters are distributed equally from Minsk to villages.
Table 2 presents the dynamics of socio-demographic characteristics of A. Lukashenko’s electorate in all four presidential elections in XXI century.
Table 2. Socio-demographic characteristics of A. Lukashenko’s electorate, %
|Characteristics||Voting for A. Lukashenko|
|Higher (incomplete higher)||10.2||10.1||13.0||15.7|
|Private sector employee||4.2||8.0||10.5||9.6|
|Public sector employee||41.2||41.0||36.5||26.9|
* Pre-election survey, three others are post-election
Table 2 data demonstrates that A. Lukashenko’s electorate’s structure doesn’t change for 14 years. The shares of young people and people with higher education have slightly increased; the share of public sector employees and villagers has slightly decreased in the last elections, and these are the only noticeable changes. Distinct preponderance of women and pensioners, low share of people living in the capital – these are unchangeable distinctions of presidential electorate in all four elections.
Table 3 describes socio-demographic structure of electorates of the principal adversaries of A. Lukashenko in presidential elections since 2001.
Table 3. Socio-demographic characteristics of electorates of principal adversaries of A. Lukashenko in the elections of 2001, 2006 and 2010, %
|V. Goncharik, 08’01*||A. Milinkevich, 04’06||A. Kozulin, 04’06||V. Neklyaev, 12’10||A. Sannikov, 12’10|
|Higher (incomplete higher)||25.1||26.1||25.0||19.2||15.1|
|Private sector employee||10.9||25.7||25.0||19.2||16.0|
|Public sector employee||49.1||33.0||38.2||46.4||37.2|
* Pre-election survey, two others are post-election
There is no complete mirror-like symmetry with the electorate of A. Lukashenko; besides, certain parameters significantly vary for different candidates. Here are some stand outs as an example: the comparatively low share of Minsk citizens and high share of villagers in V. Neklyaev’s electorate; significant share of pensioners among the supporters of A. Sannikov; high share of women among electors of A. Milinkevich. However, on the whole, Table 3 data corresponds to the distinctions of oppositional electorate, mentioned in the description of supporters of “opposition outside elections” in 2015 in Table 1: “masculinity”, low share of elderly people, high shares of people with higher education and Minsk citizens.
Let’s go back to the elections 2015 and examine political preferences of electorates mentioned in Table 1: A. Lukashenko’s, T. Korotkevich’s and “opposition outside elections” (Table 4).
Table 4. Political setups of electorates, %
|Variant of answer||All respondents||For A. Lukashenko (closed rating)||For T. Korotkevich (closed rating)||Opposition outside elections (open rating)|
|Is Belarusian economy in crisis?|
|How is the state of things in Belarus developing in general?|
|In the right direction||36.7||67.6||17.9||4.8|
|In the wrong direction||50.8||19.5||74.5||90.0|
|Should there be market-friendly reforms in Belarus?|
|Do you trust non-state mass media?|
|Do you trust state mass media?|
|Do you trust oppositional political parties?|
|If you had to choose between integration with Russia and joining the European Union, what choice would you make?|
|Integration with the RF||53.5||72.8||35.4||22.0|
|Joining the EU||25.1||11.8||38.0||58.7|
|How do you evaluate the annexation of Crimea by Russia?|
|It’s an imperialistic usurpation and occupation||20.2||10.3||28.5||49.9|
|It’s a restitution of Russian lands and reestablishment of historical justice||65.7||77.8||56.2||35.0|
Table 4 demonstrates even more clearly than Table 1 the intermediate character of T. Korotkevich’s electorate: political setups of her supporters are less radical, less critical towards the existing system, than the setups of classical oppositional electorate, but they are more critical than those of A. Lukashenko’s supporters. Her elector is oppositional, but less oppositional than classic opposition.
Certain characteristics differ not only to some degree, but even in the “sign” of the evaluation. Thus, T. Korotkevich’s elector supports market reforms, but this support is not as massive as “opposition outside elections” electors’. Her electorate also mostly trusts non-state mass media and distrusts state mass media. As for political opposition, balance of evaluations is different here: electorate of “opposition outside elections” trusts oppositional parties, while T. Korotkevich’s electorate distrusts them more often. Not as often as A. Lukashenko’s supporters, but still noticeably.
Same balance is observed regarding the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Electorate of “opposition outside elections” in its majority disapproves it, while T. Korotkevich’s electorate’s majority approves it. Supporters of “opposition outside elections” clearly choose Eurointegration, while T. Korotkevich’s supporters are divided into two almost equal parts.
In short, T. Korotkevich’s accomplishment consists of discovering “the third Belarus”. Naturally, this division is quite relative; these entities are not impenetrable, not closed: a significant part of the classic oppositional electorate, “another Belarus” so to say, voted for T. Korotkevich. At the same time even a part of “hard” electorate of A. Lukashenko, of “the first Belarus”, irritated with economic problems of 2014-2015, also may have given their votes to T. Korotkevich. It’s worth reminding that according to September 2015 IISEPS survey, conducted one month prior to elections, only 45.7% of respondents were ready to vote for A. Lukashenko. And only 35.6% of respondents declared having voted for him in December.
However, by the look of things, “the third Belarus” cannot be reduced to these two groups. It existed before, but it wasn’t seen amid the battles between the present President and classic opposition. Formerly, these people probably didn’t participate in elections, or voted for A. Lukashenko in the last moment. T. Korotkevich offered them not just an alternative, but an alternative acceptable for them.
The point is not that T. Korotkevich found “the golden key” to the Belarusian politics or the high road to success. But at the least she demonstrated to Belarusian society something important about it, something that society didn’t know about itself before.