Were the Elections Fair and What Kind of Government Shall We Have? Society is Hesitating. Gabriel with an Average Position of Trust, and in New Elections – Similar Results and a Bonus for those Who Performed Well on April 2.

Bulgarians do not hint to politicians a clear way out of the crisis, but synchronisation between the first two forces seems to be intuitively the preferred choice and at least half of the two main electorates are used to the idea before the emergence of Plan B. The elections have not left the public with a clear sense that they were fair, except for the conviction among the GERB electorate – this is, however, a common post-election picture. If elections were held again now, the result would be similar, and the losers may continue to lose. Prior to her announcement as Prime Minister-designate, Maria Gabriel enjoyed a relatively good rating, although she was too far from the optimum positions in terms of trust.

The findings are from the regular monthly independent survey of Gallup International Balkan among 803 Bulgarian adults, conducted through face-to-face interviews with tablets between April 27 and May 5.

When listing the options of what kind of government to create, the most significant accumulation is actually – albeit symbolically – in the “I don’t know/can’t decide” responses: 28.5%. This is symptomatic of the public climate in the country. The option “It is best to form a government in which GERB, “We continue the change” and “Democratic Bulgaria” cooperate and support each other in some form” gathers similar support – 28%, and the option “It is best to form a government in which GERB, DPS, BSP and “There is such a nation” cooperate and support each other in some form” enjoys support of 20.7%. It is best to hold new early parliamentary elections – this is what 22.8% say.

More than half of the supporters of both GERB, PP and DB are used to the idea of some form of joint government with the other. With GERB, however, the rest mainly support the “government with DPS, BSP and ITN” option, while with PP and DB the rest mainly support the “new elections” option. On the other hand, the majorities of DPS and BSP supporters would be happy to see their parties in government, even close to GERB. “Revival” traditionally want new elections.

Bulgarians are not convinced that the 2 April elections were free and fair – 35% accept that they were, but 37.4% are of the opposite opinion and the rest are undecided. Traditionally, supporters of the winning party are more convinced – nearly 80% of them have a positive opinion, while supporters of the losing party are “on the scales”. By comparison, days before April 2, 25.2% expected a fair election and 52.1% expected the opposite. The rest were undecided. But then, and perhaps with the uncertainty of the expected winner, the two major electorates had wavering expectations. After the election, the GERB electorate now defines the election as free and fair, and this is part of the explanation for the current gap with expectations.

If there were an election now, it would probably show a similar result with the expected at such moments positive momentum for the winners of April 2 and negative for the losers. GERB-DSS would be in first place with 26.8% of the vote and PP-DB in second place with 24.1%. “Revival” would be third with 14.7 percent and MRF fourth with 13.9 percent. BSP is in fifth place with 9.1%. Close around the barrier is “There is such a nation” with 4.1%. Not far below the barrier is “Bulgarian Rise” with 3.2% and ” The Left” with 1.5%. The remaining support goes to smaller formations.

The expected turnout for a new election, if it were in early May, is around and lower than in April – so much so that 39.2% now say they would definitely vote, and this is no higher and even lower than declared before the last election. 4.3% of all voters said they would choose “I support no one” – which suggests the possibility of a slight increase in those votes as well.

As a rule, in our country political figures are dominated by distrust and when trust and distrust are in similar positions, this is already news. That is why the ratings (trust minus distrust) almost always give a minus number. The last month confirms these conclusions.

The Bulgarian EU Commissioner, Maria Gabriel, has lately had a position at the top of the “golden mean” of the ratings ranking with about -45 points of difference trust minus mistrust, although in terms of specific shares of positive ratings (lately about 11%) Gabriel is far from the front runners. By comparison, the latter in these rankings have typically had around -70 points recently, and first place is around zero. Of course, these figures reflect Gabriel’s starting position – before announcing himself as a Prime Minister candidate. “Gallup Internationa”l has for years reported on the credibility of the Bulgarian commissioner – a Bulgarian figure in the EU political system – every two months.

The most popular political figure in the country remains Rumen Radev with similar shares of trust and distrust in recent months around forty percent, and relatively good by Bulgarian standards trust also has the prime minister Donev, the speaker of the National Assembly, the leaders of the main parties, etc.

“Gallup International Balkan” measures the personal ratings of all major figures on a monthly or bimonthly basis. However, publishing such data only makes sense in rare moments like this for public reference. Data on personal trust generally depend on the length of a politician’s political “seniority,” “bonify” or “punish” particular figures depending on the office they hold and the gravity of the tasks, and the relationship of a party leader’s trust to party support is controversial. Personal trust data actually shows what the public’s taste is, not how a politician does his job.

The data should not be read as a verbatim ranking – insofar as small magnitudes re-order month after month, and levels of recognition have an impact. For example, leaders of smaller formations are not recognisable enough, etc. At the same time, the more recognizable you are, i.e. the more chance you have of being ” worn out”.

The data are part of the monthly independent research program of Gallup International Balkan. The survey was conducted between 27 April and 5 May 2023 among 803 people using a face-to-face tablet method. The sample is representative of the country’s adult population. The maximum standard deviation is ±3.5% at the 50 percent proportions. 1% of the total sample equals about 54 thousand people.


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Gallup International Association does not accept responsibility for opinion polling other than its own. We require that our surveys be credited fully as Gallup International (not Gallup or Gallup Poll). For further details see: http://www.gallup-international.com/.