Pollsters in Bulgaria Agree Ruling GERB Loses GroundDomestic | October 18, 2012, Thursday // 13:05| views
Sociologists in Bulgaria are joining around the fact that approval ratings of the ruling GERB of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, are collapsing less than one year before the next parliamentary election. Photo by BGNES
Less than a year before the parliamentary elections in Bulgaria, the top polling agencies in the country have obtained controversial data and forecasts on the standing of the opposition.
The most striking discrepancy is the one between the Institute for Social Research and Mediana where the margin of support between the left-wing, opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, is 11% and 0.1%, respectively.
The Heads of the two agencies, Mira Radeva and Kolio Kolev, clashed Thursday, regarding the above data, with Kolev accusing Radeva of working for those in power.
Speaking for bTV, he explained the wide gap in numbers with the fact his agency was widely considered to be in opposition.
Also before bTV, Radeva defended herself, stressing her agency was the one to forecast more correctly the results of the October 2011 presidential election. She voiced the hypothesis Mediana polled elderly people, who stay at home and back BSP' which, according to her, explained the above 0.1% margin.
Radeva's poll shows that at the beginning of October GERB had 27.3% voter support while BSP had 16.4%.
Other polling agencies such as the National Center for the Study of Public Opinion, NZIOM, (which is funded by the Parliament), and Sova Harris also give a 10%-11% margin, while in polls of Alfa Research and Gallup it is 5%-6%.
Despite the disagreements, sociologists in Bulgaria are joining around the fact that approval ratings of the ruling GERB are collapsing.
Kolev explains it with the constant change of mind of those in power regarding key issues such as retirement pensions, the minimum monthly wage, and the project to build a second Nuclear Power Plant in the Danube town of Belene.
He reiterated BSP's closing the gap with GERB can be explained with the September 29 election of BSP leader and former Prime Minister, Sergey Stanishev, as President of the Party of European Socialists, PES, which dealt a heavy blow to GERB.
The Mediana Head further pointed out there is wide-spread fear among common Bulgarians to speak up their mind. His agency has registered 20% of voters being scared to voice their political choice over some form of repression.
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