Will for Change, but also Reluctance for Early Elections. Fear of the Coronavirus, but Also Unwillingness for Strict Restrictions.

The Bulgarians continue to disapprove of the authorities and to want change but are reluctant when it comes to early elections. Our society, however, differentiates between the government responsibility for the general development of the state and for the coronavirus situation – the latter still meets a majority of positive evaluations. Generally, the protests are supported although there is a lack of confidence in their success. The introduction of strict restrictive measures regarding the coronavirus is visibly not supported. Significant parts of the society are already facing reduced income because of the emergency measures and only a revival of the economic life can hold the negative tendency in this regard.

These are the conclusions of an independent telephone-conducted poll carried out in the period 22-24 July among 800 respondents.

55% say that the government is dealing well or very well with the coronavirus situations while 43% hold the opposite opinion. Several months ago, this evaluation was significantly better although it is still not bad. It looks like the contradictory developments in this field since the beginning of the summer have influenced the public opinion.

Despite the more worrisome statistics, a majority of 59% still today are against the introduction of strict restrictive measures. 39% respondents say they would accept them – this share is not small and speaks of a new rise of anxiety.

The latter also shows itself in the continuing decreasing belief that life will return to normal by the end of the year – for two months the share of optimists has decreased from 61% in the beginning of June through 40% in the end of June to 32% now.

44% claim that their income has decreased because of the coronavirus, 9% – that they have lost their job. For 8% the loss is yet to come, 6% have stopped paying off their credit debts and 2% – their lease. There is no significant change in these shares compared to previous waves of research which may be an indication of a relatively timely “opening” of the economy that has stopped an additional deepening of the negative economic tendency.

Meanwhile, 59% continue supporting the protests and 34% do not support them. The rest is doubting. The data represent the usual attitudes towards the state authorities but also show that the protest potential is high and remains significant.

On the other hand, 58% do not believe that the protests will achieve any of their aims while 25% think they will achieve both of them – a resignation of the Prime minister and of the Chief Public Prosecutor. 6% think that only a government resignation is possible and the smallest share of 3% think only the Chief Prosecutor will resign.

The newly formed idea of the resignation of the President Rumen Radev also does not sound realistic to the majority – 63% do not support it, while 29% do. The rest are doubting.

54% do not want early elections, opposed to 42% who do. The ascertainment from previous research during tough political times remains – the society obviously wants change, but the specific vision for early elections pushes it away. Probably, this is also because of the forthcoming regular elections, the summer season and the perceived lack of a new distinct alternative.

It was also checked if and to what extent extreme attitudes have developed in the current situation – through several provocative questions. For example, 36% support banning the Movement for Rights and Freedom party. This share is significant and gives food for thought. Still, 52% hold the opposite opinion.

When it comes to the current government as a whole, the public irritation is visibly bigger – 62% of the respondents think that the current rulers have to be tried. The data are not precedent, but the authorities have to seriously consider this as an alarming sign of the levels of public patience.

CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing); national representative sample (800 interviews) for the population 18+ г. 22-24.07.2020 г. 1% of the sample equals ~ 55 thousand people. Absolute maximum error ±3.3 at 50% shares.


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