Trust, lack thereof and everything in between: end-of-year Ukraine poll

Trust, lack thereof and everything in between: end-of-year Ukraine poll

I found a few interesting things in the Razumkov Centre and the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation‘s new poll this week (in Ukrainian).

[usual preamble: polling done from December 16 through 20th in only government-controlled areas of Ukraine (i.e., no Crimea, no “DNR/LNR”), 2,000 respondents 18+, MoE 2.3%. Graphs below are mine, which mean any errors are likely mine]

1. Trust for some, not-particularly-high-levels-of-trust for others

Razumkov/DIF has asked Ukrainians for while now how much they trust a number of social institutions, from the President to the armed forces to NGOs (pages 13 through 15 of the PDF, in the back, for anyone following along at home). I’ve picked out a few from the 25-or-so list below.


These figures should (should) be worrying to anyone at the Bankova or the Rada – trust in the president (49% in 2014 to 24% in 2016) and in the Rada (31% to 12%) has tanked while trust in political parties (11% in 2016) is even lower. I haven’t graphed it out here but there’s obviously also been a corresponding increase in those who say they distrust the President (44% 2014: 69% 2016), the Rada (57% 2014: 81% 2016) and political parties (71% 2014: 78% in 2016). Keep in mind too that not a single individual Ukrainian politician is more trusted than distrusted (pages 5 and 6, question 7), so, ouch.

But who do Ukrainians trust more than their politicians? The armed forces, volunteer battalions, the National Guard, volunteer organizations and churches, not to mention Ukrainian media. Hmm.

2. We shall overcome, eventually

Ukrainians are less likely now than in 2014 to think the country’s “difficulties” (“труднощі” – native speakers, yell at me if there’s a better translation) will be overcome in the next few years, but I’d chalk this up more to realism than downright pessimism – the percentage of Ukrainians who say the country won’t be able to overcome its difficulties at all hasn’t significantly changed since 2014.


3. Optimists, pessimists and everyone in between

Buried way in back on page 14 of the PDF are some stats on whether a series of situations (24 of them) have got better, worse or stayed the same over the past year. I’ve picked a few below from both times DIF/Razumkov have asked the question.


Not too many Ukrainians felt things have got better over 2015 and 2016, but what’s most striking to me here is the percentage of Ukrainians who think the country’s international image hasn’t got better over 2016.

(I’ve drawn up the “worse” and “stayed the same” graphs separately, largely so I didn’t have to produce one graph with an absolute rainbow of shit in it.)

What do people think has got worse? Ukraine’s international image, for one, alongside social protection and the situation in Ukraine as a whole.


The “stayed the same” graph makes sense once you’ve seen the better/worse graphs but on its own here is pretty much useless. Whatever.


I’m not too surprised by much here, except the “Ukraine’s international image” question. What were respondents thinking exactly when they answered this?

4. Party time!

I’ve drawn up some graphs of party ratings over 2016 in DIF/Razumkov’s polls as well as KIIS’s polls for comparison.

I’ve included major (generally +5%) parties plus those scary right-wing parties that inherently must accompany any discussion of Ukrainian politics in English regardless of whether it feels like some of these parties could fit all their voters on a couple of school buses.



Batkivshchyna’s gone up some, BPP and Samopomich have gone down some, the Opposition Bloc may have dropped a bit, Lyashko’s Radical Pitchforker Party’s generally stayed the same and Svoboda and the other three Peoples’ Front of Judaea sects are wheezing after participation ribbons. That’s about it.

I think the bigger story here – and what I’d personally like to focus on more as I nerd around with polls like these and raw data sets in 2017 – is that more Ukrainians say they don’t know who they’re going to vote for, and even more (depending on the survey) say they won’t vote at all. Yeah, looking at the jockeying and horseracing from all these parties-spun-off-from-other parties and renamed-and-renamed-again parties tells us something, but it doesn’t tell us enough. Who isn’t voting? Why? Who doesn’t know who they’re going to vote for? Why? Do their social/political attitudes differ from decided voters? And so on.


Survey of IDPs and hosting communities in Ukraine

Survey of IDPs and hosting communities in Ukraine

The Kyiv International Institute of Sociology released results of a survey (pdf, English; Ukrainian here) they did in July and August with internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and hosting communities across Ukraine.

Boring method-related preamble facts:

  • Done for Internews (an international NGO – not Inter) and funded by the Government of Canada
  • Fieldwork between July 22 and August 16, 2016
  • 1,003 IDPs and 1,500 residents of host communities interviewed in person across all of Ukraine except territories not under control of the government (i.e., except Crimea and “LNR”/”DNR” )

Have a look for yourself, but for me three things stand out…

Some IDPs feel prejudice more than others

Six in ten (61%) IDPs said they never felt prejudice from local citizens because they were an IDP; one in five (20%) said they only rarely felt prejudice, while 11% experienced it “from time to time and 3% “all the time.”

Still, some IDPs experience more prejudice than others.  IDPs displaced before autumn 2014 tended to experience less prejudice (67% ‘no prejudice’) compared to those displaced before autumn 2015 (54% no) and autumn 2016 (55% no). In addition, IDPs in villages (65% ‘no prejudice’) and cities <50,000 people (75%) experience less prejudice than those in cities +50,000 people (48% ‘no prejudice’) and oblast centres (59%).

But it’s IDPs who say they feel vulnerable (“Do you feel more vulnerable because of your age, health condition, education, employment opportunities or any other conditions as compared to other IDPs?”) that tend to experience more prejudice; two-thirds (67%) of IDPs who didn’t feel vulnerable said they experienced no prejudice compared to 49% of vulnerable IDPs. These vulnerable IDPs tend to be those over 60 years of age, lack paid work, lack higher education and say they have health and/or financial problems.

One note: in the tables in the appendices to the report there is a stat that says 47% of those aged 18-29 felt vulnerable compared to 21% of 30-44s, 20% of 45-59s and 31% of 60+s. This isn’t discussed or mentioned in the text of the report so I’m wondering a) if it’s a typo or (most likely) b) the subsample’s too small to be statistically significant.

Getting to know IDPs

Looking now at the survey of local residents:

  • 83% said they know there are IDPs in their town/city
  • 45% have talked to an IDP
  • 34% have IDPs among their relatives and close friends.

These trends aren’t the same across the country – people are less familiar with IDPs in western Ukraine than in Donbas or Kyiv, which isn’t surprising given where IDPs tend to settle.


Most citizens in host communities tend to have good (43%) or neutral (44%) attitudes towards IDPs, which is consistent with findings a different survey back in June. Only 5% of people surveyed said they had negative attitudes towards IDPs.

These attitudes, however, tend to be the worst (well, really, ‘least good’) in western Ukraine, where people are the least familiar with IDPs, and best in areas like eastern Ukraine and Donbas, with one exception…


…that exception, of course, is Kyiv, where people are the most aware of IDPs in their city, the most likely to have IDPs among their relatives and/or close friends – but also have the most negative attitudes towards IDPs (14% saying they had a ‘bad’ attitude towards IDPs).


Kyiv’s the exception too when it comes to attitudes about crime.

Only one in ten (11%) residents of host communities who were of aware of IDPs in their communities (n= 1,233) said that the presence of IDPs in their community had led to a worsening of the crime rate.

But look at the regional breakdowns:

  • West: 9%
  • North: 18%
  • Centre: 7%
  • South: 5%
  • East: 11%
  • Donbas: 6%
  • Kyiv: 32%

That’s a huge difference, and it isn’t just because Kyiv’s a huge city; 19% of residents of oblast centres felt the presence of IDPs had worsened the crime rate, still far higher than those in villages and cities with both fewer and greater than 50,000 people (6%, 7% and 8%, respectively).


In point form because it’s getting late here.

  • The most vulnerable IDPs are the ones who tend to experience the most prejudice
  • Similarly to what I argued for a similar survey done back in June, there looks to be bit of familiarity not exactly breeding contempt going on here – attitudes tend to be more positive in regions where people have more contact with IDPs, except Kyiv
  • Blaming IDPs for crime (not that anyone tried doing that) might not get you very far. A subset of the population would probably buy into that sort of thing, particularly in larger cities and the capital, but the findings from this survey suggest – thankfully – that jumping up to play the blame-refugees-for-crime game might not be all that fruitful for Ukraine’s populists.




Comparing Ukrainian & Russian attitudes toward each other (KIIS/Levada Centre data)

Comparing Ukrainian & Russian attitudes toward each other (KIIS/Levada Centre data)

KIIS and Levada released results this week from their regular surveys of Russians and Ukrainians and their attitudes towards each other (link to KIIS in Ukrainian, Levada’s link in Russian).

tl;dr: Ukrainians tend to have more positive attitudes towards Russia than vice versa.

  • Attitudes of Ukrainians towards Russia:
    • 40% of Ukrainians in September 2016 said their attitudes towards Russia were ‘good’ or ‘very good’ (an statistically insignificant change from May 2016)
    • 46% of Ukrainians in September 2016 said their attitudes towards Russia were ‘bad’ or ‘very bad,’ a significant increase from 43% in May 2016
  • Attitudes of Russians towards Ukraine:
    • One in four Russians (26%) said their attitudes towards Ukraine were ‘good’ or ‘very good’, a significant drop from 39% in May 2016 – which was itself a significant increase from 27% in February 2016. Some zigzaggin’ goin’ on here.
    • 56% of Russians said their attitudes towards Ukraine were ‘bad’ or ‘very bad,’ a significant increase from 47% in May.

The data over time since 2008 is pretty interesting, so interesting I decided to make a barely readable graph. Ukrainians’ attitudes to Russia = blue. Russians’ attitudes to Ukraine = yellow/…mustard?


A few observations, if you haven’t got a headache yet from having to squint at this thing:

  1. At no point are Ukrainians’ attitudes towards Russia worse than Russians’ attitudes towards Ukraine, even in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea and the start of war in Donbas by May 2014. At every single data point Ukrainians have more positive and less negative feelings about Russia than Russians have for Ukraine.
  2. Russians’ attitudes towards Ukraine got really damn low in late 2008/early 2009. A function of Yushchenko’s presidency and the gas disputes?
  3. Once Yanukovych got elected in February 2010, Russians’ attitudes tend to even out (keeping in mind the gaps in actual survey dates in 2011).
  4. Ukrainians’ attitudes have got a bit better towards Russia recently but, not surprisingly, are still far below pre-Maidan levels.
  5. I can’t explain the zigzagging with Russians’ attitudes over 2015/2016. If you can, great.

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 2

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 2

As promised to my legions of readers, some more stats and fancy graphs breaking down what Czechs think about Islam using European Social Survey data (2014).

(Lack of) trust

Respondents were asked three questions about how much they trusted the people around them, screenshotted here to save me from having to explain it.


People who said they didn’t want any Muslims to be allowed to come live in Czechia scored lower on average on all three questions – in other words, they were less trusting in general and more cynical of peoples’ intentions than Czechs who wanted to let Muslims to come live in the country.

“Social trust” might not be the best descriptor here, but you know what I mean.

This distrust extends to institutions – across all seven ‘trust in institutions’ questions (the same 0 – 10 scale, where 0 is ‘no trust at all’ and 10 is ‘complete trust’), people who didn’t want any Muslims were significantly less trusting of every social and political institution they were asked about.


“If I thought I’d make a difference..”

Respondents were also asked a series of question about political efficacy, the belief that one has the ability to influence politics and political affairs.  Again, questions screenshotted here.



You can probably guess what the trend is here before you see it – people who don’t want Muslims in Czechia feel they have less ability to influence politics and have a say (i.e., they feel less efficacious, for anyone who actually likes that word).


Čas na party?

The most interesting of these breakdowns, in my opinion…

For reference, the popular vote percentages and seat breakdowns from the last Czech parliamentary election in October 2013 (descriptors of each party are in the graph itself):

  • CSSD: 20.5%, 50 seats
  • ANO 2011: 18.7%, 47 seats
  • KSCM: 14.9%, 33 seats
  • TOP 09: 12.0%, 26 seats
  • ODS: 7.7%, 16 seats
  • Usvit: 6.9%, 14 seats
  • KDU-CSL: 6.8%, 14 seats

The findings? Supporters of the (now split up) far right populist/Eurosceptic movement under Tomio Okamura were the least in favour of allowing Muslims to come and live in Czechia (71% ‘no Muslims’), which isn’t a shock for a Front National-aligned movement.

But it’s who they’re followed by that’s most interesting to me. Supporters of the two most left-wing parties in Czechia – the Communists (63%) and the Social Democrats (59%), the largest party in the Czech parliament – were more likely than all but the far-right to be opposed to letting Muslims come and live in the country.


As a side note, these are also the parties that tend to be the most pro-Russian. Hmm.

Observations, qualifications, etc.

There’s a lot more that I can dig into here re: the predictors of not wanting Muslims in Czechia. Some of it, as I discussed a few weeks ago, is likely down to age (e.g., supporters of the Communists tend to be older than supporters of other parties). Some of it could be regional, some could be related to education or income, and some still could be related to factors I need to plug into a logistic regression model…

Another dose of Ukraine stats for Monday morning

Another dose of Ukraine stats for Monday morning

KIIS asked some of the same questions in both the May 2015 and May 2016 Omnibuses (their translations from the Ukrainian and Russian versions of the questionnaire):

  • “Do you consider yourself a happy person?”
  • “If to speak about Ukraine in general, how do you think, in one year from now the situation in Ukraine will be better or worse than now?”
  • “How do you think, in one year from now your family will live better or worse than now?”

First, Ukrainians aren’t exactly getting happier – 54% said they were happy in May 2016 compared to 59% a year earlier. It’s not a huge change, but it’s significant.


Second, Ukrainians are getting less optimistic about the future, as you can see below.


What’s also interesting is that fewer people in 2016 felt the questions about optimism were difficult to answer (i.e., don’t know)…


Some of the breakdowns for these questions are what you’d expect – i.e., older people, those with lower incomes/lower self-reported descriptions of their financial situation and those with lower levels of education= less happy and less optimistic about the future. I may dig in further. Ask and ye quite possibly may receive. Enjoy your Monday.

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 1

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 1

Today I took a look at some numbers from my favourite data source right now (maybe a bit odd for a Canadian) – the most recent wave of the European Social Survey (ESS 2014).

I want to know more about what people think about Muslims in central and eastern Europe, and why. Fortunately there’s one question in the ESS that specifically asks people what they think of Muslims:



Only 44% of Czechs feel that a few, some or many Muslims should be allowed to come and live in their country – the lowest among all countries surveyed. I want to try and shed a bit more light on why this is the case and help us non-central/eastern-Europeans stop blaming these kinds of attitudes on some simplistic kind of eastern backwardness.

I’ve given minimal interpretation/commentary – yours are welcome.


Unsafe after dark

Czechs who feel unsafe after dark tend to be the least likely to want to allow Muslims to come and live in Czechia (yes, I’m finally calling it that).

For reference on the sizes of these groups: most Czechs felt safe (63.4%) or very safe (12.3%), while one-quarter felt unsafe (21.4% ‘unsafe’; 3.0% ‘very unsafe’)

Interestingly, a related question – whether you or a family member has been a victim of a theft or robbery in the last five years – showed no relationship at all.

Time to get to know your neighbours?

While Czechs who have at least some contact with a member of a different race or ethnic group tend to be pretty evenly split, Czechs who have the least contact with different races or ethnic groups tend to be much less likely to want to allow Muslims into the country.

‘Never’: 20.5% of all Czech respondents / ‘Less than once a month’: 16.0%

I touched on this in a post a few months ago on attitudes towards IDPs in Ukraine; the more contact people had with IDPs, the more positive their attitudes were towards them. The same goes for attitudes towards Muslims in the US and towards immigrants in general in the UK – familiarity really doesn’t breed contempt.

…and time to make some more friends?

People who had friends of different races and/or ethnic groups were more likely to be supportive of Muslims coming and living in Czechia compared to those who had none (no friends from a different race/ethnic group, not no friends at all [which the ESS does actually ask about]).

Most respondents (71.8%) weren’t friends with anyone from a different race/ethnic group (in fairness, not overly surprising in a country ~95% Czech). Still, 24.3% were friends with “a few” and 3.9% friends with “several.”

Again, this seems at least partly about familiarity not breeding contempt.

Immigants, I knew it was them!

Czechs who think the government treats new immigrants better than them are much more likely to feel no Muslims should be allowed to come and live in Czechia.


Overall numbers: 7.2% ‘much better,’ 27.0% ‘a little better,’ 52.6% ‘the same,’ 12.1% ‘a little worse’ and 1.2% ‘much worse’ (i.e., most Czechs don’t think immigrants get treated better – but a lot do)

Part 2 will come in a day or two with a look at some stats on political efficacy, (lack of) trust in governments and people and party affiliation.

Again, interpretations and such welcome.

The British far left and attitudes towards Jews, by some numbers

The British far left and attitudes towards Jews, by some numbers

(tl;dr: people who identify as far left or far right are much more likely to say that no Jews should be allowed to come and live in Britain, according to ESS 2014 data)

In the midst of analyzing some other data this afternoon I had the strange urge to look at a question from the 2014 wave of the European Social Survey (ESS) on attitudes towards Jews and whether it was related to left-right self-identification in the UK.

Here’s the relevant questions from the ESS:

Left/right self-identification
I’ve looked at data on D27 in other countries but nothing yet on D26…

As in some previous analysis I’ve done on left/right self-identification in the Czech Republic (fine, Czechia), I recoded the left-right scale into two versions –

  • Far left: 00 and 01
  • Left: 02, 03 and 04
  • Centre: 05
  • Right: 06, 07, 08
  • Far right: 09 and 10

And one with just one’extreme points’ on either end:

  • Far left: 00
  • Left: 01, 02, 03 and 04
  • Centre: 05
  • Right: 06, 07, 08 and 09
  • Far right: 10

Jews and the far left

The vast majority (94%) of respondents said that either many, some or a few Jews should be allowed to come live in Britain, with only 6% saying no Jews should be allowed at all.

But…regardless of how you slice up the left/right scale, British people who identify as furthest to the left or right seem a lot less keen on Jews than those in the relative middle on the spectrum.


Keep in mind that only 5.2% of respondents in total placed themselves on the far left of the scale – 12.6% of 5.6% of people isn’t exactly a ton of people. Still, after double-checking, there’s definitely a statistically significant difference between those on the far left versus left, middle left/right and right (not the far right, obviously).

This relationship holds up when you just take one extreme point as far left (00)/right(10).


Here only 3.2% of the survey placed themselves on the far left, but it’s still a significant difference – and the percentage gets pushed up even higher for both the far left and far right.


I leave the implications and conclusions of all this to people in the know.