Ukrainians are Aware of Civic Activities but Unwilling to Take Action
These are the latest findings of the USAID/ENGAGE Civic Engagement Poll, revealing that while citizen engagement is low, awareness of and interest in participation is a cause for optimism.
One in three Ukrainians (32.8%) say that they regularly or randomly attend meetings in their communities. As in previous polls, a smaller share of citizens says that they are engaged in the activities of civil society organizations (16.9%).
With respect to various forms of democratic participation, respondents are most engaged in the work of community committees (8.1%), public hearings (6.4%), peaceful assemblies (4.4%), reporting on infrastructural issues (5.2%), and lodging or signing electronic petitions (4.2%).
As for their awareness of civic activities, roughly seven out of ten Ukrainians (67.5%) are aware of opportunities to participate in a peaceful assembly for a specific cause. Ukrainians also indicated their awareness of the ability to report infrastructural problems to local administration authorities in person or by phone (64.6%), and to create or participate in a housing, street or block committee (60.0%). Citizens are least aware of types of activism that require some expertise, such as participation in a formal advisory body (38.5%) and commenting on draft laws (38.8%).
Ukrainians are mostly interested in reporting infrastructural issues, either in-person or by phone (21.2%). Additionally, people show interest in reporting infrastructural issues online (20.1%), community work committees (17.2%), and submitting formal informational requests to state bodies (16.8%).
Citizens are the least involved in anti-corruption activities. Only 1.5% have reported corruption to law-enforcement bodies. Almost the same portion of respondents (1.1%) has been involved in reporting corruption publicly to the media. Only 0.6% have used online tools to anonymously report corruption or electoral violations.
Voting Trends: Candidate’s Gender Doesn’t Matter Anymore
A vast majority of respondents reported on their voting habits in the presidential and parliamentary elections in spring-summer 2019 (86.9% and 79.6% respectively). While a lesser share (66.4%) voted in local elections in 2015, the readiness to vote in the next local elections is higher (70.6%). Intentions to vote in the next local elections are higher among women (74.1%) and elderly aged 55 years and older (more than 75.8%).
Several factors influenced voters’ preference for candidates in local elections, namely honesty (65,4% of respondents), representation of people like me (53.5% of respondents) and a candidate’s close ties within the community (47.8% of respondents).
As for choosing between male and female candidates of similar professional backgrounds, about 2/3 of respondents say that the sex of a candidate does not matter.
Ukrainians are Becoming Impatient with Reforms Taking Root
Almost one half of Ukrainians (48.3%) say that they have not experienced any consequences of reforms. Meanwhile, 22.2% have experienced both negative and positive consequences. A negative experience was common— only 2.4% stated they were content with reform implementation while approximately one in five respondents (22.6%) had opposite sentiment regarding reforms.
Ukrainians expect reforms to take more immediate effect. One third of citizens (31.6%) expect consequences of reforms to occur within three years, while about one in every five citizens (19.8%) expect the impact of reforms to occur within four or five years. About the same proportion of the population (20.4%) believe that reforms will produce results in five years or more.
Citizens perceive that the biggest role in countering corruption is now played by anti-corruption authorities (37.9%), while the President of Ukraine is ranked second (31.5%). At the same time, almost every fifth Ukrainian believes that countering corruption depends on him/her. Only 6.3% of respondents perceive the Government of Ukraine as effective in fighting corruption, with around 71.0% of Ukrainians seeing no or almost no changes in anti-corruption reform.
Approximately 15.7% of respondents reported that corruption rates have increased in the last 12 months and every third Ukrainian (32.9%) is ready to join collective protests against local corrupt officials who are involved in corruption.
Migration Preferences Show Ukrainians Wish to Pursue Their Future in Ukraine
About 15% of respondents would like to move abroad, while two-thirds of respondents would like to stay in their local communities, and another 8% would like to move to other settlements or regions within Ukraine.
The majority of respondents (74.9%) have not traveled to Western Europe since 2017. At same time about half of those who traveled had a short-term visit, and more than a third of those who traveled went to work either as a seasonal worker or as a long-term worker.
The vast majority of respondents (73.4%) prefer to remain living in Ukraine five years from now, and more than a third (40.5%) would not change their mind. Among this subsample, the main reasons that might cause respondents to change their mind and leave the country are full-scale war in Ukraine (22.6%) or financial circumstances necessary for decent living (19.8%).
Only 10.6% of all respondents would like to live abroad—one half of these respondents would change their mind in the case of political changes and increased family incomes. As for their children, more than a half of respondents would like them to live in Ukraine, while 17.4% prefer their children to live abroad.
Freedom is a Top-Cherished Value for Ukrainians but They Still Heavily Rely on the State
Only 22.3% of Ukrainians consider themselves to be socially protected. Three categories — pensioners (48.1%), youth (23.9%), and IDPs from the Donbas (22.8%) — are perceived as the most discriminated groups of people in Ukraine.
Almost two thirds of Ukrainians say that they don’t belong to a group of people who experience discrimination, yet among those groups who feel discrimination the percentage is significantly higher for respondents aged 65 years and older. Almost one half of respondents would be ready to support discriminated groups of people to which they do not belong in order to prevent that discrimination.
The highest rate of reported personal experience with the violation of rights is in healthcare (43.3%), followed by trade and consumption (39.3%), and social security and benefits (29.9%).
Respondents indicate that people who use drugs (75.5%), those who abuse alcohol (56.8%), and the Roma minority (41.7%) are the top three social categories as unwanted neighbors.
The overwhelming majority of the population agrees that the rich enrich themselves (84.5%), the people in power do not care about ordinary people (83.4%) and profit on them (82.3%). The vast majority of Ukrainians believe that the opinion of the general public does not matter for people in authority (81.0%) and that ordinary citizens do not have the power to influence events in the country (77.6%).
The majority of respondents (63.5%) are not ready to sacrifice freedom for greater security and well-being.Almost half (47.8%) of respondents also said that the state should be responsible for everyone’s well-being and 30.0% acknowledged that they carry responsibility for their own well-being themselves. Yet, about a half of respondents (52.2%) agree that success depends on luck and connections.
Regarding trust to one another, more than a half of respondents (54.2%) agree that one should be cautious with everyone.
This survey summary was prepared by Pact as part of the USAID/ENGAGE activity, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this survey summary are the sole responsibility of Pact and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
The Civic Engagement Poll is conducted under the framework of the Enhance Non-Governmental Actors and Grassroots Engagement activity (USAID/ENGAGE), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact. This report summarizes key takeaways from the poll, drawing from survey data collected in January 2020.
The survey gauges citizen awareness and engagement in civil society activities and citizens’ participation in and perception of reform processes in Ukraine. During the most recent survey, respondents were also asked questions that measure their values, convictions and attitude to life, additional section was dedicated to migration .
The last data collection for the USAID/ENGAGE Civic Engagement Poll was conducted by the research agency Info Sapiens, from January 8-30, 2020. Field interviews were conducted with Ukrainian residents aged 18 years and older, face-to-face, in the respondents’ homes. The survey sampled 2,011 respondents and was designed in accordance with the distribution of the adult population of Ukraine by age, sex, oblast and settlement type (excluding Crimea and non-governmental controlled regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts). The margin of error of the sample is 2.2% (excluding the design effect)
Click here to download survey’s data and charts.