Belarusians are not very interested in the US elections, as opposed to 2008. Not many of them are ready to formulate their preferences (chart 1). Nevertheless, in their eyes Donald Trump has a small but significant advantage over Hillary Clinton.

In June IISEPS survey we asked a question on who the respondents would vote for if they participated in the US presidential elections this year. During the period the survey was conducted Bernie Sanders still continued the struggle in the primaries, but it was clear who would be the candidates of the two leading US parties.

The conclusion about the lack of interest to US elections this year is based on comparison of chart 1 results with the results of March 2008 survey, conducted in the height of primaries. Back then 26.1% of respondents expresses sympathy towards Hillary Clinton, 15.5% – John McCain, 11.7% – Barack Obama.

However, sympathy does not equal readiness to vote, even if a hypothetical one. Still, comparison of results is possible.

Certain political analysts compare Trump’s success during the primaries with Lukashenko’s rise to power in 1994.

Chart 1 results confirm this comparison partly: in 2008 Clinton was the most popular candidate among Belarusians, but now she is second to her Republican rival according to Belarusian “vote”. How do American electoral preferences of Belarusians depend on socio-demographic characteristics and political preferences?

Table 2. Relationship between the hypothetic vote on the US elections and socio-demographic characteristics and political preferences*, %

Characteristics If you voted on presidential elections in the US this year, who would you vote for?
For Hillary Clinton For Donald Trump
Male 9.5 24.3
Female 18.5 8.7
18-29 18.1 21.8
30-59 14.2 15.8
60 + 11.4 10.0
Primary 10.5 7.4
Incomplete secondary 11.0 6.5
Secondary 13.4 17.6
Vocational 17.3 18.1
Higher 15.3 16.9
Do you trust the President?
Trust 10.6 12.2
Don’t trust 17.4 20.1
If you had to choose between integration with Russia and joining the EU, what would you choose?
Integration with Russia 8.3 13.9
Joining the EU 21.8 22.2

* The table is read across

Apparently, under otherwise equal conditions, women in any country are more inclined to prefer their sister, so to say. Belarusian women prefer Clinton, while men prefer Trump. It should be noted that Belarusian men are noticeably more interested in the US elections.

It is curious that young people prefer the Republican candidate, while elderly people would rather choose Clinton. Possibly, this is because Clinton is the wife of the familiar former President and not a new person in politics. Elderly people prefer familiar things to innovations.

Possibly, the same mechanism determines the correlation between choice and education. In the US average Trump voter has a lower level of education than an average Clinton voter. In Belarus it’s the contrary. Respondents with primary and incomplete secondary education prefer the Democratic candidate.

For people like them in the US Trump is a symbol of social revenge to establishment. For Belarusians with low education American elections are a kind of another planet. Clinton is better known, at least as a wife of the ex-President. Such people prefer less changes, even if these changes happen in the US. Changes are always for the worse according to them.

Attitude to the President of Belarus doesn’t really influence the choice of the future President of the USA. Lukashenko’s supporters are less interested in American elections than those who don’t trust him. The order of sympathies is basically the same: Trump is more popular. Let him make his America great again.

Geopolitical preferences influence the hypothetical political choice in the US much more. Clinton’s “rating” is at its low among the supporters of integration with Russia. Possibly, this is due to the careful but evident preference to Trump expressed in Russian mass media. Although, Trump’s rating is not that high in this group as well, just as the interest to the US election in general.

To play this game on the request of sociologists one needs to imagine themselves in the place of Americans. Supporters of integration of Belarus and Russia aren’t very inclined to that.

As for “Euro-Belarusians”, virtually there is a parity between supporter of Clinton and Trump.