New ratings: some need no longer worry, others shouldn’t celebrate just yet

Ramūnas Karbauskis, Gabrielius Landsbergis and Saulius Skvernelis
Inga Skrebytė

With the first wave of disappointment in Farmer and Greens’ policies, their ratings are stabilising at a level similar to that of the previous ruling parties.

As Mykolas Romeris University political scientist Rima Urbonaitė stressed, based on surveys by Spinter Tyrimai, the Farmer and Greens ratings were at their peak in December, reaching 30.7%. Based on a July 17-23 survey commissioned by the Delfi news portal, the Lithuanian Farmer and Greens Union (LVŽS) ratings were down to 17%.

Over the same period, the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) ratings rose from 12 to 16.6%. “Four percent, if we include error margins, this is not some sort of drastic rise, compared to the Farmer and Greens decline,” R. Urbonaitė said.

Regarding the Social Democrats, the political scientist reminded that before a new chairman was elected, there were talks that “a new chairman will be elected and we’ll see completely different ratings.”

“But look now, from December when it was 8.9% to now when it’s 11.3%, there hasn’t been any serious change,” R. Urbonaitė said.

The political scientist summarises the situation as ratings stabilising. “There has not been anything special for the past few months, on the other hand for a time now there has been a negative emotional atmosphere and this discontent is becoming a natural state without reflecting on which decisions are bad and which are positive. And of course the demand for social sensitivity and justice has not disappeared anywhere,” R. Urbonaitė spoke.

Voters await actions

According to the political scientist there are currently no clear and widely perceived decisions or signals in this regard, which is why expectant moods remain.

“But you see, voters understand the scandal with Greta, the risen prices of alcohol or heating, the statements about a sugar tax and this does not leave a positive impression. Nevertheless, when asking people, we hear not discontent with the actions, but the usual “oh, these ones also did nothing, just promised a great deal.” And I believe that now the second wave of disappointment has passed, plus a light summer wind,” R. Urbonaitė said.

She notes that currently it is the Social Democrats who are making more waves, but based on the ratings dynamics seen in Spinter Tyrimai data, this has little impact on their popularity.

“On the other hand parties always had these sorts of ratings, the highest ones would land around 15-20%, this was a completely normal status. Now that the honey moon is over, everyone understood that there will be no change and the primary disappointment has settled, the “Farmer” ratings have stabilised at around 17%,” R. Urbonaitė said.

Cabinet as a negative shock absorber

She points out that the continued dynamics of the Farmer and Greens Union ratings will depend on the cabinet’s work in the autumn. The cabinet’s evaluation remains more negative than positive for now. In July the cabinet’s work was more positively or positively evaluated by 30.7% of respondents, while more negatively or negatively by 59.2% of respondents; in June it was respectively 27.9% and 63% of respondents. Another 10.1% responded they have no opinion in both June and July.

“The cabinet is a negative shock absorber. Especially considering that the disappointment rolled in, there were many unnecessary moves and statements. The Prime Minister may remain the most popular, but even his ratings are no longer as exceptional. It is natural that when the Prime Minister’s rating declines, so does that of the cabinet,” R. Urbonaitė said.

Disappointment in the cabinet’s work, the political scientist notes, arises from voters’ expectations not being met regarding the Farmer Greens’ promised changes being made. “Voters do not see intensive work and their pockets filling, the lives of pensioners, kids and those raising them to be living better lives. Especially when the Prime Minister has been demonstrating a very liberal stance as of late. While he may seemingly speak with forethought, but voters may sometimes be left with the impression that the Prime Minister is losing his social sensitivity,” R. Urbonaitė said.

Not a drastic situation

Nevertheless the political scientist is not inclined to dramatise the situation. She reminds that the conservative cabinet of Andrius Kubilius never had high ratings and Kubilius himself was disliked.

Algirdas Butkevičius, Urbonaitė points out, was exceptional in the phenomenon that despite doing almost nothing, he maintained fairly high ratings, talking constantly that “we will take care of everyone and listen to everyone” during a period of economic upswing.

“The current cabinet cannot be said to do nothing, there is certainly more movement. The more movement, the more criticism and opportunities to slip up, thus it is natural that the ratings may be more negative than those of A. Butkevičius’ government were at the same point in the term. But that term did not feature the phenomenally high ratings compared to the current one,” R. Urbonaitė said.

Calm in party ratings

Comparing the Spinter Tyrimai data regarding political parties in June and July, there has been little to no significant statistical change. LVŽS ratings were 17% in July, down from 17.8% in June, while their closest competitors, the TS-LKD, reached ratings of 16.6% in July, up from 15.6% in June.

The Lithuanian Social Democrat Party’s ratings were 11.3% in July, down from 12.8% in June. The Liberal Movement‘s popularity was 7% in July, down from 7.5% in June. Order and Justice received 5.3% of the vote in July, down from 6% in June. The remaining political powers would fail to exceed the 5% barrier to be elected into Seimas.

S. Skvernelis remains the most popular

Based on the survey, Saulius Skvernelis continues to be perceived as the most suitable among politicians and public figures to hold the office of Prime Minister. 23.7% of respondents think so, down 3.6% compared to a month ago.

His closest rival is Conservative leader Gabrielius Landsbergis, who received support from 8% of respondents in July and 8.2% in June. Further behind the two is former Prime Minister, social democrat Algirdas Butkevičius, with support rising to 6.5% in July, compared to 4.2% in June.

LVŽS leader Ramūnas Karbauskis is left fourth, with support rising to 6.2% in July from 5.9% in June.

Other potential candidates are seen as being social democrat MEP Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, MEP Antanas Guoga, Liberal Movement leader and Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius, MP and former Minister of Finance Ingrida Šimonytė, economist Gitanas Nausėda and conservative former PM Andrius Kubilius.

The survey respondent distribution is proportional to the number of residents in the country’s regions. The error margin for the research is 3.1%.

About Dalia Plikune 52 Articles
Žurnaliste dirbu nuo 2006 metų. Rašau vidaus ir užsienio politikos temomis. Savo darbe siekiu paprasto tikslo būti efektyvia reportere, o tai reiškia būti patikimu informacijos šaltiniu savo auditorijai. Kaip yra sakęs buvęs ilgametis BBC žurnalistas ir redaktorius Alexas Kirby, iš kurio turėjau galimybę mokytis – geras žurnalistas yra dvejojantis optimistas ir viltingas skeptikas. Stengiuosi tokia išlikti. Dirbau korespondente naujienų agentūroje ELTA, dvejus metus rašiau Lietuvos žiniasklaidai iš Paryžiaus ir Briuselio, stažavausi prancūzų dienraštyje "La Croix". Esu baigusi Vilniaus universiteto Tarptautinės komunikacijos magistro studijas.
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