Radical Party vs. far-right party support in Ukraine: how similar is it?

Radical Party vs. far-right party support in Ukraine: how similar is it?

(the title of this post explains it. there’s hockey on so I can’t be arsed with a preamble)

I did a bit of analysis using the most recent publicly available Ukraine data set I have – the May 2016 edition of the KIIS Omnibus survey of 2,000 Ukrainians in government-controlled parts of the country (as always, no Crimea, no unrecognized “DNR”/”LNR” statelets). The September 2016 data set will be available in February, they tell me.

I grouped together supporters of the three far-right parties that showed up in the May survey (Svoboda, Pravyi Sektor and Yarosh’s Governmental Initiative) and compared them to Radical Party supporters to see how similar they are.

The answer? Not very.

Age: Radical Party supporters tend to be older (average age 52.2 years old) than far-right party supporters (45.8 years old) [p≤.01].

Settlement size: Radical Party supporters are more likely to live in communities of less than 100,000 people (16.9%) than in cities with more than 100,000 people (10.3%) [p≤.01] – but there’s no significant difference for far-right party supporters.

Urban/rural: Obviously related to settlement size, Radical Party supporters were more likely to be from a rural area (18.6% compared to 11.1% urban; p≤.01). Again, there’s no significant difference for far-right party supporters, even if the numbers appear to slightly skew rural.

Attitudes towards Russia: Shocking no one, far-right party supporters are more likely to have bad/very bad views towards Russia (16.9% compared to 3.7% ‘good/very good’)[p≤.01]. Not so for Radical Party supporters – there’s no significant difference.

Will Ukraine be better/worse?: Far-right party supporters are more likely to think that the situation in Ukraine will be better (14.6%) or the same (15.7%) in a year’s time, compared to 6.9% ‘worse’. [p≤.01]. There’s no significant difference for Radical Party supporters.

Ukraine’s leaders moving country in right/wrong direction?: While Radical Party supporters are more likely to think the country’s going in the wrong direction (15.8% compared to 6.5% ‘right direction’; [p≤.01]), there’s no significant difference for far-right party supporters.

Perceived income: I’ve split the perceived income question in two (there’s five categories, with almost no one picking the fifth, ‘richest’ category) – think of it like ‘perceived lower income’ versus ‘perceived higher income’.

With that in mind, Radical Party supporters were more likely to describe themselves as part of that lower-income group; their household situations tend to be “lacking money for food” or “enough money for food but not for clothes” compared to having enough money for clothes or to buy expensive things (16.6% compared to 7.9%)[p≤.01]. As for far-right party supporters, there were no significant differences here.

Reported income: Radical Party supporters were more likely to report they earned less than 3000 UAH a month (16.6% compared to 10.1% more than 3,000 UAH/month)[p≤.05], while there was no significant difference for far-right party supporters. This question, FWIW, doesn’t appear on all KIIS surveys.

Region: Far-right support tends to come from western Ukraine (21.7%), compared to 7.0% in central Ukraine, 5.3% in southern Ukraine and 3.1% in eastern Ukraine [p≤.01]. Radical Party support, on the other hand, is actually pretty even across western, central and southern Ukraine (14%-16%).

Education: Like with perceived income I’ve had to split education into two broad categories – ‘lower-educated’ and ‘higher-educated’. Using those categories Radical Party supporters tend to be lower-educated (19.3% compared to 11.8%)[p≤.01], while no significant difference appears for far-right party supporters.

Gender: Far-right party supporters are more likely to be men (14.7% compared to 7.2%) – no such significant difference appears for Radical Party supporters.

Takeaway?

Based on this data, far-right party supporters and Radical Party supporters don’t look too much alike.

  • Far-right party supporters, relatively speaking, are young, predominantly male and concentrated in western Ukraine and have much more negative attitudes towards Russia.
    • Are they more concentrated in rural areas? They may well be, but the stats from this survey alone don’t allow me to draw that conclusion. If they are I suspect it’s a weaker relationship than for Radical Party supporters.
  • Radical Party supporters, on the other hand, tend to be older Ukrainians who live predominantly in rural areas across different regions of Ukraine, have lower levels of income and education and feel more pessimistic about where Ukraine’s headed.

Caveats?

1. This is one poll, taken at one point in time more than seven months ago. I want to repeat this with more recent data to see if these trends hold or whether new ones emerge (or with different data if someone wants to give it to me).

2. The small sample size of decided voters (less than half of the original sample of 2,000 Ukrainians) really inhibits the amount of analysis I can run – thus why you see some of these oversimplified ‘higher/lower’ categories. This means some of the possible nuances between the cracks don’t get captured (e.g., between four levels of perceived income or education, etc.). This also so means that some differences that weren’t statistically significant here could show up as significant in different, larger surveys.

3. (2a?) The sample size isn’t remotely big enough to try and do more complex analysis (e.g., logistic regression) to determine what variables (e.g., gender, age, etc.) make the biggest impact on far-right or Radical Party support. Bah.

Thoughts welcome, errata mine.