IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 4 (58), 2010




Prospects for expanding a social base of alternative youth organizations

Presidential elections-2010: “a landscape before the battle”
Attitude of the society to the forthcoming elections
Does “the Square” have a chance?
Protest potential
In search of changes’ supporters
Redistributive justice
The role of information in the life of the society
Politically loaded indices
Forgotten obligations
Geopolitical coordinates of the elections

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in October 2010

Presidential election 2010: a “post-battle scene”
Election outcomes broken down by main socio-demographic groups
Early voting
Free, fair and non-democratic
Trust as a borrowed resource
Public trust paradoxes
Two thermometers for one temperature
Protest potential
It’s all about context
The IV All-Belarusian
Belarusian choice between the East and the West

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in December 2010


Grigory Ioffe, professor, Radword University (USA)
“Reflecting on Belarus problems in connection with perusal of Valery Karbalevich’s book
“Alexander Lukashenko: a political portrait”


Dear readers!


In the regular issue of the “IISEPS News” analytical bulletin we offer to your attention materials representing the most interesting results of the Institute activity in the fourth quarter of 2010.
During this period the presidential elections were undoubtedly the center of the IISEPS attention. The campaign broke all the vagueness and discrepancy of the eventual results’ estimates records – it is enough to remind the reader that the declared votes for the president “fluctuated” between a little bit over 30% according to the data of the opposition and almost 80% according to the data of the CEC; and for his opponents, vice versa, from 20% to 2%. At that both sides vowed their trustworthiness.
The after-election poll showed, first of all, that 87-88% of voters had taken part in the elections (it was virtually the same at the previous elections), which is appreciably less than the officially announced 91% and much more than what some leaders of the opposition said (less than a half). Secondly, the number of those who voted early – about 20% – turned out to be noticeably less than the officially announced 23% and much less than what the opposition declared (over a third). Thirdly, 51.1% of all respondents, i.e. registered qualified electors, voted for A. Lukashenko (39.9% – in Minsk, 62.3% – in villages), for the following him V. Neklyaev – 8.3%, for A. Sannikov – 6.1%, for V. Rymashevsky – 3.7%, for Y. Romanchuk – 3.2%, for A. Mikhalevich – 2.7%, for N. Statkevich – 1.7%, for G. Kostusev – 1.6%, for V. Tereshenko – 0.6%, for D. Uss – 0.5% (together all the opponents won 28.4%), 5.1% voted against everybody, and 3.8% refused to answer this question.
Let us remind you, that on 19, March 2006 A. Lukashenko won 63.1% (of the number of those who had voted), and his three opponents (including S. Gaidukevich) – 30.3%. Thus, A. Lukashenko has won the elections once again (what all our pre-election polls predicted), and technically could have managed without “redistribution” of almost 1,350,000 votes and mass repressions.
Being aware of the moment’s political and moral significance, we have rechecked the figures many times with the help of backup questions, as well as a many-sided cross-analysis (the representativeness level and the level of organizational and methodological reliability of the poll the interested readers can check against the Appendices attached to the results of the December opinion poll on the IISEPS site). For instance, when respondents were answering the question: “If presidential elections were held again in Belarus tomorrow, whom would you vote for?”, A. Lukashenko obtained 53% and V. Neklyaev – 6.9% of the votes. When answering the question: “If there were a second round of the presidential elections and two candidates, A. Lukashenko and V. Neklyaev, went forward to it, whom would you vote for?”, 57.1% said they would “definitely” or “rather” vote for A. Lukashenko, and 23.9% – for V. Neklyaev. In the opinion of 57.7% of respondents, president was elected in the first round, and 23.3% consider that there should have been a second round to determine the winner.
In a word, “however you slice it” the result is virtually the same. Besides, A. Lukashenko’s electorate remains not lower than 93% in all crosstabs, i.e. it is extremely consolidated (whichever way one asks these people, they just the same choose “the father”); and only 55.9% of the number of those who had voted for V. Neklyaev were ready to vote for him again, for A. Sannikov – 44.6%. It means, that if A. Lukashenko remains an unquestionable leader for the majority of the electors who are in some or other way satisfied with the present life, then the minority of the dissenting do not have such a leader. Although, support of the president has decreased at least by 5-6% during five years, he as before remains an acceptable leader for millions of the Belarusians.
Assessments of the election campaign also correspond to the voting records. Thus, 54.4% of the polled think that the elections were free and just, and 32.3% adhere to the opposite opinion; 48.6% suppose that in the course of the elections all candidates were on an equal footing, and 39.9% hold the opposite opinion; 62.6% believe that the elections results announced by the CEC are “definitely or more likely real”, and 29.4% – “more likely or definitely rigged”. Among those who had voted early, 17.3% said they had done it on their own initiative, and 3.2% that they had been forced to do it. 27.6% of respondents consider the decision of the West about non-recognition of the elections results as they do not correspond to the OSCE standards and about the support of the opposition’s demand for a second round or for a repeat election a fair verdict, 46.9% – an unfair one. All these figures are rather close to the similar figures of 2006, too.
On the whole the elections undoubtedly strengthened the feeling of split in the Belarusian society: if in 2006 55.9% of respondents thought that A. Lukashenko’s victory had united the Belarusian society still more, and 27.1% – that it had split it more, then today the ratio has become 43.1% vs. 35.3%. However, the split on political grounds in the Belarusian society which the IISEPS has been writing about since the middle of the 90s, and which the president is already talking about today, does not necessarily push the dissenting “into the embrace of the opposition”. To the question: “Do you consider yourself to be in opposition to the present authorities?” 18.9% of respondents answered in the affirmative, and to the question about the attitude to the events in the Independence square 51.8% said they did not approve of such protest actions, and 17.4% said they did (in 2006 the ratio was 45.9% vs. 20.4%). These figures are much smaller than the number of the offended and the dissenting. Moreover, while answering the question: “What is more important for you today: preservation of the present state of things in the country, or its change?” more people choose preservation than change: 49.7% vs. 41.2% (five years ago the ratio was inverse: 37.4% vs. 53.8%). As it can be seen, in spite of the fact that “the premonition of instability” is gradually growing, no mass aspiration for radical changes (that leaders of the opposition peremptorily declare) is being observed so far. It might sooner yield a reverse effect – expectation of “a strong power” one can rely on in time of need.
As usual, for those who are interested in our figures more than in assessments, we offer an opportunity to analyze on their own the results of the researches in the form of direct calculation in the frame of the main socio-demographic characteristics.
This time “The Open Forum” is joined with the “Bookshelf” where Grigory Ioffe, a Radford University Professor, presents a book by the famous Belarusian political scientist Valery Karbalevich “Alexander Lukashenko: a political portrait” and shares his thoughts about Belarus problems. He is already known to our readers as the author of the most profound and objective book about modern Belarus (a review of the book was published three years ago). Besides he was a member of the American analysts’ delegation which visited our country on the authorities’ invitation on the eve of the presidential elections and got the impressions, as they say, “at first hand”.
All comments and feedbacks are as usual welcome!