site.btaUPDATED NASOCA Poll: Six Formations Likely to Enter Parliament
Six formations are likely to enter the next parliament, but without a working majority for the formation of a regular cabinet, according to a nationally representative poll, conducted by the independent sociological agency NASOCA. The data analysis elaborates on the differences between the supporters of the Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) alliance and GERB-UDF, the two competing formations for the leading position, as well as among the supporters of the remaining political forces that stand a chance to enter parliament after the April 2 elections. The agency notes that the last ten days of the election campaign have the potential to change everything.
The poll was jointly funded and implemented by the online media platform Boulevard Bulgaria and NASOCA. It was conducted between March 7 and 14, 2023 among 1,200 adult Bulgarian citizens. A quota sample was used, implemented in several steps. The quotas were calculated on the basis of data from the 2021 census. Respondents were distributed proportionally to the size of settlements, in nests of approximately equal size. Settlements are put into three categories: regional centres, other cities/towns, and villages. Settlements and the number of nests within them are defined in proportion to the number of voters (aged 18+). First, the regional centres were fixed in the sample, and then small towns and villages in the respective region were randomly selected. Within each nest, the sex-age distribution is balanced according to the NSI data from the last census. The thus constructed sample reproduces the population structure by residence, sex and age. The information was collected by direct standardized face-to-face interview at the homes of the interviewees. Since NASOCA conducts its polls on the territory of Bulgaria, the data does not include voter attitudes outside the country.
The poll, conducted in the first week of the election campaign, outlines the following trends: voter turnout of about 46% of eligible voters living in Bulgaria; nearly a fifth (17.4%) of those who decided to vote are still undecided between two or more parties; ten days after the start of the election campaign, the intrigue for the first place remains, the analysts summarise.
Among the key findings of the poll is that the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is expected to record its lowest result in a parliamentary election in the past 33 years. Another insight is that less than a quarter of people intend to vote by paper ballot on April 2, while 64% prefer to do so by machine. The data suggests that Bulgarians are undecided on the country's main priorities - some 65% approve of EU membership, and 49% approve of NATO.
The two leading political forces are extremely close and with the expected voter turnout it is possible that a relatively small number of votes could lead to a swap at the top, the data shows. When asked directly "Which party/coalition will you vote for in the parliamentary elections on April 2 this year?", among those who indicated a candidate list for which they will vote, CC-DB has a marginal lead of 0.6% over its main opponent GERB-UDF, 27% indicated that they will vote for CC-DB and 26.4% for GERB-UDF. Among the voters who say they will definitely vote, however, GERB-UDF leads by a margin over CC-DB, with 24.8% support, just 0.7% above CC-DB (24.1%). The third place is contested between the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) with 13.2% and Vazrazhdane standing one percentage point below MRF. The figures are further complicated by the fact that a significant part of the vote abroad (which cannot be accounted for in this poll) is directed precisely in favour of these two political forces, the analysts note. The fifth position is taken by BSP with 6.2% of those who firmly decided to vote. Bulgarian Rise has 4.3%. The rest of the political forces have low chances of representation in the 49th National Assembly. The closest to the 4% barrier are The Left! with 3.1% and There Is Such People (TISP) with 3%. The remaining political formations participating in the elections collected a total of 4.4%.
According to the poll, 3.6% of those who decided to vote on April 2 will indicate that they do not support anyone. Their share is taken into account in the calculation of turnout but is not involved in the distribution of election results and is therefore not represented in the electoral attitudes chart. The "I do not support anyone" option is preferred more often by men, by residents of metropolitan areas, and by people who are generally hesitant to vote at all, the analysts report.
In the first week of the election campaign, 46.4% of those interviewed said they would definitely vote in the early parliamentary elections for the 49th National Assembly. A total of 33.7% declared that they would definitely not vote, 9.8% said they were undecided about whom to vote for, and 10.1% said they were undecided about whether to vote.
Strong voting intentions are more often expressed by men, highly educated respondents, the wealthy, residents of regional towns and villages in the country, and people aged between 50 and 59. According to the data, the supporters of MRF and GERB-UDF are the most mobilised to vote in the upcoming early parliamentary elections. Equal shares of 97% each of GERB-UDF and MRF supporters say they will definitely vote on April 2, while this share is lower among CC-DB's supporters and stands at 92%.
The weaker mobilization of the CC-DB supporters compared to those of GERB-UDF in the first ten days of the campaign can be attributed to the answers to the question "Would you indicate the probability that you will vote for your preferred party/coalition in percentage terms?" 71% of those who indicated that they would vote for GERB-UDF said that the probability of doing so was 100%, while among the CC-DB supporters this share amounted to 68%. Based on the declared probability of support, MRF has the most mobilized supporters - 78% of the party's supporters indicate that they will vote for MRF with a 100% probability, while the least mobilized are those voting for small parties, which have no chance of entering the parliament.
Attitudes towards voting methods
The sociologists have also checked the attitudes towards the possibility of mixed voting - by paper and by machine, provided by the amendments to the Election Code. According to the data, 41% of the interviewees approve of the return of mixed voting, while 39% disapprove of it as they consider it a retreat from the measures that guarantee the fairness of the vote. A total of 64% of those intending to vote said they would cast their ballot by machine, while a quarter of voters going to the polls on April 2 would cast a paper ballot. The remaining 11% have not yet decided how they will vote.