KIEV, April 24 ??“ President Viktor Yushchenko??™s popularity has increased sharply in April, the first such steep increase since early 2005, following his decision to dismiss Parliament, an opinion poll showed Tuesday.
Some 20.4% of respondents said they were ready to vote for Yushchenko in April, compared with 12% in March, after the president had moved April 2 to dissolve the legislature, according to the Kiev International Institute for Sociology.
Yushchenko??™s rating has been falling gradually since he had become the president in January 2005, dropping to less than 10% after the collapse of the pro-Western government coalition in September 2005.
But the sharp increase in the rating shows Yushchenko??™s supporters have been encouraging the president to hold a tougher line in talks with pro-Russian government coalition led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
Yanukovych??™s led the list of the most popular politicians with 34.5% in April, while former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a Yushchenko ally, enjoyed support from 16% of respondents, the KIIS reported.
The ratings of Yanukovych and Tymoshenko were little changed in the period, while Yushchenko??™s rating ???has increased notably,??? KIIS said. AT least 2,039 people were polled by KIIS between April 14 and April 19 with margin of error at 2.8%.
Other popular politicians in Ukraine include Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko with 2.7% level of support, followed by former Internal Affairs Minister Yuriy Lutsenko (2.1%), Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Moroz (1.6%), ultra-leftist Progressive Socialist Party leader Natalia Vitrenko (1.5%) and former Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn (1.5%).
At least 15.1% of respondents said they were not sure on what politician to support, KIIS reported.
The pro-government Regions Party, led by Yanukovych, was the most popular party in Ukraine enjoying support from 35.5% of respondents, followed y Tymoshenko Bloc??™s 19.6%, Yushchenko??™s Our Ukraine (12.9%) and the Communist Party (4.2%), according to KIIS.
Lutsenko??™s People??™s Self-defense would get support from 3.7%, followed by Vitrenko??™s 1.8%, Lytvyn Bloc??™s 1.7%, the Socialist Party??™s 1.2% and Ukrayinska Pravytsia, the nationalist right wing group, 1.2%. Some 6.3% of respondents refused to support any party, while 10.3% of respondents were not sure.
At least 43.2% of respondents, mostly from western regions of Ukraine, supported Yushchenko??™s April 2 decree dismissing Parliament, while 43.1%, mostly from eastern regions, rejected the decree.
At least 79.5% of respondents said they were ready to go and vote for their political parties in the event of the early election, while 6.6% were not sure and 13.9% had rejected the idea of the early election.
The statistics is consistent with polls by other agencies showing that Regions Party dominates the list. Regions??™s rating was 29.1% as of the middle of April, up from 26.3% a month ago, FOM-Ukraine reported. The Tymoshenko Bloc??™s rating dropped to 15.5% in April from 19.1% in March.
Support for Our Ukraine increased to 10.3% as of the middle of April, up from 8.8% as of the middle of March, according to FOM-Ukraine, a polling agency. (tl/ez)