More than 11% of Ukrainians polled faced attempted voter bribery cases in the election. At the same time, 64.5% of respondents said they were not ready to sell their vote under any circumstances. Those who are willing to accept this crime will often quote specific amounts of "vote price" - mostly up to UAH 1,000. The reasons mentioned in explanations for such high adherence to voter bribery among 25% of respondents said they had already planned to vote for that candidate or a party, in any case. Representatives of the Civil Network OPORA spoke about this on November 25, during an online presentation of a representative sociological survey.
“The forthcoming elections, in particular the parliamentary elections, will be held undr a proportional system with open regional lists. Even within one list of one political force, much depends on the turnout within one large region (please, be reminded, there are 27 of them). Accordingly, the greater the turnout, the more citizens come to the polls, the more seats will be distributed in that constituency. The political technologists and the campaign offices (who have very actively plunged into their work) understand that in some way they can motivate and mobilize voters not only through digital advertising, political ads, or visibility-oriented campaigning for certain actors, but also, unfortunately, through other incentives when legislation prohibiting or imposing sanctions for election violations is not binding yet, such as in the inter-election period. We must not only analyze the status quo, but also name specific figures in order to reach concrete decisions", - said the Chair of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA, Olga Aivazovska.
From October, 22 to November, 12, the Ilko Kucheriv Foundation for Democratic Initiatives, together with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, conducted a CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviews) survey based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers. The survey was commissioned by the Civil Network OPORA and is representative for the whole country. This study was supported by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The views and statements expressed in the report may not coincide with those of USAID and the United States Government.
According to the analyst of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Andriy Sukharina, 11.4% of respondents said that they were at least once asked to vote for a particular candidate or party in exchange for a monetary reward. Such attempts were reported more often by men - in 12.9% of cases, by women - in 10%. Voters aged 40–49 (14.5%) faced the most bribery proposals, and 11.6% –11.7% of people aged 18 to 39 received the offer. Almost the same index was found for the 50-59 age group of citizens - 11.1%, slightly less responses among voters aged 70+ - 10.6%, and the least, 7.7% of cases - among Ukrainians aged 60-69. Similar offers were also more often targeting voters with incomplete secondary education - in 16.5% of cases, while voters with complete secondary education received such offers in 11.1% of cases (special secondary education - 10.4%, higher or incomplete higher education - 11.6%). In terms of religion, the largest number of attempts to bribe voters was reported by members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - 17.6% of respondents, members of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine - 11.8%, members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - the Moscow Patriarchate (ROC in Ukraine) - 8.8 %; in total, Orthodox (including those without denomination) - 10.7%, atheists - 8.3%.
Voters living in the west of Ukraine (14.4%) most often faced offers to bribe voters; in the central part of the country this figure is 11.6%; in the south - 10.7%; in eastern Ukraine - 6.3% of respondents. In the context of financial situation, such proposals were heard more often by provisionally wealthy people - 11.4%; slightly less - by the poor (at 11%), the wealthy people only differ slightly (10.5%), and the least of such suggestions were heard by people who self-identified as extremely poor - 9.9%. Regarding the types of settlements, such proposals were most often encountered by residents of villages and towns - 13.4%; in large cities (over 500,000 of population) - 11%; in medium places (100,000 to 499,000 of population) and in small towns (up to 100,000 of population) - 10.1% and 8.3%, respectively.
64.5% of respondents stated that they were not ready to "sell" their vote under any circumstances. Among those who are still potentially ready to sell their vote, the most popular option is to vote for the candidate or party they like, but at the same time also get the money for it - 25%.
“When a person finds an excuse for committing some action and says that "under certain conditions I am ready to do that, the excuse will easily be found. And this condition will not always coincide with what a person first declared - that they will vote for the candidate or party of their choice. Technically, a person can come up with another criterion to vote in a certain way. Another 18% of respondents said that everything depended on the specific circumstances. 13% they would accept the offer if they are sure that they will not have any negative consequences", - says Andriy Sukharina.
Another 8.5% will agree if they are asked to do so by people they trust, and 6.3% if they are offered a fair amount of remuneration.
According to OPORA analyst, Oleksandr Kliuzhev, a group that says they fear the law offers the chance for a state that can rectify the situation at the level of law enforcement and judicial efficiency and convince people that there is a danger of being prosecuted for participating in such schemes.
The majority of respondents (54%) said that any offer of money would be unacceptable in motivating voters to sell their votes. However, those who consider the sale of the vote itself realistic quote relatively small amounts that can motivate people to sell the vote. 12% of respondents mentioned an amount less than UAH 500, another 6% - from UAH 500 to UAH 1,000. Only 3.4% of respondents mentioned amounts from UAH 1,000 to 2,000, and 1.3% - the amounts from UAH 2,000 to 5,000. Another 3.5% said that this amount should be more than UAH 5,000. In general, 18% of respondents believe that it is possible to motivate a voter to sell their vote in the amount of up to UAH 1,000. The same amount was quoted by 23% of respondents who have faced bribery. There is no gender gap among those who think the amount of up to UAH 1,000 is enough to motivate voters to sell their votes - the same number of women and men said so. 18% of the extremely poor and 21% of wealthy respondents believe that voters can be motivated to sell their votes for up to UAH 1,000. The difference is small and fits within the error. 19% of those who live in villages or towns, and the same number of respondents who live in large cities, believe that voters can be motivated by the amount of up to UAH 1,000. 23% of respondents aged 18–29 years and 21% aged 30–39 years can be motivated by an amount of up to UAH 1,000. For other age groups, this figure ranges from 19% to 16%, from 40 to 70+, respectively. If we consider this issue in the context of religious affiliation, then 24% of atheists consider the amount of UAH 1,000 acceptable for bribery, while people who belong to different Orthodox denominations stay in the range of 16-17%.
When asked why voters agree to receive money or other material rewards from a candidate or party in exchange for election support, the vast majority of respondents said that the reason was that people are poor, and this is an additional opportunity to earn extra money - (82.5%). Another 65% mentioned that people don't care who they vote for if they are offered money. Also, more than half (56%) indicated that people take money but vote independently. Another 37% answered that people do not want to refuse a request to friends, acquaintances, relatives, neighbors, management, or work colleagues.
Respondents' opinions split about the "charitable" activities of parties and candidates before the election. Thus, 42% have a positive attitude to the provision of medicines, products, equipment, organization of leisure and entertainment, landscaping, assistance to the army or to the church, when this is done by the subjects of the election process before the election. 51.5% have a negative attitude to this. At the same time, there are some differences in population groups. Thus, women are usually more positive about this activity than men (46% and 37%). It is also interesting that poorer respondents are more negative about this form of indirect bribery. Age-related trends can also be traced. Younger respondents are more likely to be positive about the "charitable" help of parties and candidates before the election than older people. In addition, indirect voter bribery is treated more negatively by those respondents who were confronted with the attempts. At the same time, among those respondents who are willing to "sell" their vote under certain conditions, much more people are positive about the "charitable" assistance of the subjects of the election process before the election - there are 51% of them. Among respondents who are not ready to sell their vote under any circumstances, 37% have a positive attitude to such things.
“The poll showed how important it is to work with parties and candidates - says OPORA analyst Oleksandr Kliuzhev. - There are many indicators showing that loyalty to electoral charity or voter bribery would be less if politicians did not systematically build it, at the level of their daily communications. This survey is the entry point for further discussions on information campaigns, on strengthening law enforcement and the judiciary, and on the activities of NGOs with political parties to adjust their communications when they consciously invest a lot of resources in making people loyal to their unscrupulous practices”.
The majority of respondents believe that two parties are to blame for voter bribery - 62%. Another 26% believe that the main responsibility should be undertaken by those who initiate and exercise bribery (a candidate or a party). Only 7% believe that the main culprit is the voter who sells their vote. The vast majority of respondents believe that voter bribery technologies affect election results. Thus, 33% believe that such an impact is very large, and another 50% think that such an impact is likely. As little as 3.5% believe that voter bribery technologies do not affect the election results at all.
Half of the respondents support the statement that voter bribery is not only a serious abuse, but also the main problem of the Ukrainian elections. Another 33% are more likely to agree with her. 4% of respondents completely disagree with this statement. Residents of large cities (over 500,000 people) agree the least with this statement, but even there most respondents see it as a serious problem. Voters who have been directly confronted with bribery are generally more likely to rank the problem the most serious in the electoral process.
The study was conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation together with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology from October, 22 to November, 12, 2021, using the CATI method (computer-assisted telephone interviews) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers. The poll was commissioned by the Civil Network OPORA. The sample is representative for the adult population of Ukraine (18 years and above).
The survey was conducted in all regions of Ukraine, except for the territories that are temporarily not controlled by the government of Ukraine - the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The field study phase lasted from November 2 to 11, 2021. As a result, 2003 questionnaires were collected.
Scales were built to compensate for deviations from official statistics (Gosstat as of January 1, 2019). To calculate the indicators, the data set must be weighed (variable weight 2000).
The statistical error of the sample (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) does not exceed: 2.4% for indicators close to 50%, 2.1% - for indicators close to 25%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 10%.
This study was supported by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The views and statements expressed in the report may not coincide with those of USAID and the United States Government.