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President trailing main opponents in poll
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, Oct. 14 President Viktor Yanukovych would probably lose presidential election to any of the two main opposition leaders if the vote was held this month, according to an opinion poll released Monday.

Vitaliy Klichko, the leader of the Udar party, and Arseniy Yatseniuk, the leader of the Batkivshchyna party, would both defeat Yanukovych in a runoff, according to the poll released by the Razumkov Center.

Klichko would defeat Yanukovych 37.7% vs. 24.8% of the vote in the runoff, while Yatseniuk would win with 32.5% vs. 25.5%, according to the poll.

Oleh Tiahnybok, the leader of the nationalist Svoboda party, is the only opposition leader who would lose a runoff against Yanukovych with 22% vs. 26.8% of the vote, the poll indicated.

The poll shows a steadily deteriorating support for Yanukovych who is expected to seek re-election to the second five-year term in office in March 2015.

It also shows that Yanukovychs push towards signing of the political association and free trade agreements with the European Union have so far not benefited him politically.

This creates pressure on Yanukovych that will most likely heavily influence his political decision making ahead of the vote.

For example, this may strengthen arguments of those in the Yanukovych campaign that believe helping Tiahnybok politically would be the best strategy for Yanukovych.

The strategy apparently calls for deploying massive media assets, much of which is de-facto controlled by businessmen loyal to Yanukovych, to help promote Tiahnybok and the nationalist platform in Ukraine.

Other strategies discussed call for changing the constitution in Ukraine to enable presidential election in one round of voting, eliminating the runoff, people familiar with the situation have said.

This strategy would capitalize on the fact that Yanukovych may still potentially collect more votes than other opposition leaders if they all run for election at the same time.

The latest poll confirms this is possible.

Yanukovych would score 24.1% support in the first round of voting, followed by Klichkos 20.6% and Yatseniuks 19.3%, accordoing to the poll.

Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko would score 7.5% of the vote and Tiahnybok would collect 5.9%, according to the poll.

Petro Poroshenko, a former foreign minister and an independent candidate, would score 3.8%, according to the poll.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was jailed in October 2011 for seven years for abuse of office, would not be allowed to run for the presidency even if she is pardoned by Yanukovych, according to the law.

But if Tymoshenko hypothetically is allowed to run, she would too defeat Yanukovych in the runoff with 31.4% vs. 26% vote, according to the poll.

Also, if she runs for the presidency with all other opposition leaders, Tymoshenkos involvement would greatly change the political landscape.

In this case, Yanukovych would score 24.3% of the vote in the first round, followed by Klichkos 19.3%, Tymoshenkos 16.7%, Yatseniuks 7.2%, Symonenkos 7.1%, Tiahnyboks 4.7% and Poroshenkos 3.8%, according to the poll.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 8 among 2,010 respondents throughout Ukraine with margin of error at 2.3%, the Razumkov Center reported. (tl/ez)




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