How to Read a Poll: Case Study for the City of Kyiv

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

The Kyiv Post recently published a survey conducted by the International Institute of Sociology on the race for Mayor of Kyiv. “Kyiv residents still want incumbent mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko to stay on the job”, the article read.

In a potential three-way race, and according to the poll, 36.6% would vote for Klitschko, 18% for People’s Deputy Oleksandr Tkachenko and 12.6% for businessman Andriy Palchevsky.

Surveys that are taken months before the election always have to be taken with a grain of salt. They mostly reflect the awareness levels of the candidates. I always argue that an election involving an incumbent is foremost a referendum on the incumbent. If voters are happy with the incumbent’s leadership and with how things are going, the incumbent usually wins. If voters are unhappy, then the challenger starts to play a role. In this respect, it is interesting to note that according to the same survey, Kyiv residents seem split: 44.6% said Kyiv is developing in the right direction while 44.5% said that it developed in the wrong direction. 34% think that Klitschko’s activity in Kyiv has been positive, while 31% apparently said that it was negative. It would be interesting to know more about the “why” behind both numbers. Looking at it from the outside, I find these numbers a bit surprising and definitely something that the incumbent Mayor can and should work on over the next few months.

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