Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is watching his support at home dwindle as the Ukraine War has reached a stalemate with Russia and headlines in the West have moved on to Israel.
The poll, which was commissioned by the International Republican Institute and funded by USAID, found that just 42 percent of Ukrainians “strongly approve” of his job performance and 40 percent “somewhat approve.” RT, the Russian news outlet reported that these percentages were at 58 and 33 percent, respectively, back in April—before the long-awaited counteroffensive. “Partial and strong disapproval of Zelensky went from 4 and 3 percent in April to 9 and 7 percent in September,” the RT report said.
There is debate in the country on whether it would be wise to hold elections during a war. There are no plans to hold elections during the war with Russia. (See “DUH-MOCK-RACY IN ACTION: UKRAINE’S ZELENSKY POSTPONES ELECTIONS UNTIL AFTER WAR,” 5 Jul 2023.)
TRENDPOST: We’ve noted that Zelensky announced in July that there will be no election until after the war with Russia ends. Zelensky found a loophole in the country’s constitution that states elections cannot be held while under martial law. Zelensky declared martial law on 24 February 2022, the day Russia invaded.
The next parliamentary elections would normally be held in October 2023; the presidential election should take place in the spring of 2024.
Zelensky has faced some pressure from the West to hold elections sooner rather than later.
In August, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a main advocate for Zelensky, said he urged Zelensky to hold an election next year. Some of the challenges Zelensky sighted were organizing soldiers to vote and getting Ukrainian refugees to have access to voting.
The new poll found that Ukrainians are still optimistic that the country could emerge victorious in its fight against Russia. About 94 percent believe Kyiv could still carry the day, which was down from 97 percent in April 2022. Just 68 percent believe the country will be able to reclaim land now in Russian control—including Crimea.
The RT report also cited an Economist/YouGov poll that showed Zelensky is more popular among Americans than two of the top U.S. presidential candidates for 2024: Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
The poll found half of Americans viewed Zelensky favorably while both Trump and Biden were viewed favorably by just 42 percent of those polled.