Ukrainians remain overwhelmingly united on the key issues at stake in their country. NDI public opinion research, conducted in November and December 2016, shows that the majority of the citizens surveyed see Russian influence as negative and are unwilling to give up Ukraine’s sovereignty, even if it means an end to the conflict. Additionally, 86 percent of Ukrainians, among whom are sympathizers of both government and opposition parliamentary parties, believe it is important that Ukraine becomes a fully functioning democracy.
Despite the obstacles Ukrainians face in their democratic transition, levels of optimism remain stable. Those who expect the next generation to be better off outnumber those who do not at a ratio of two to one. The potential for citizen engagement has started to grow as Ukrainians look to be involved in decision-making processes. Nearly one in three indicated that they would participate in local budget-setting if given the opportunity. While many Ukrainians are unsure if their communities have been merged as a result of decentralization reforms, the nine percent who say they have directly experienced the merging of communities have a more positive opinion of the process than the rest of the population.
By a small margin, Samopomich remains the party with the highest positive ratings. The top five parties remain in a statistical tie, while a majority of respondents up, 57 from 54 percent, are unable to make a choice. Although party affiliation remains low, the importance of a candidate’s party when voters are making their choice has risen nine percent, suggesting that increased diversity in the party system is becoming visible to more people.
Ukrainians are now more willing to participate in the next elections. In the upcoming election 34 percent are ‘certain to vote’, compared with 26 percent in the previous survey. Many more respondents are likely to make a choice if an election is called.