Social Democrats continue to top popularity rankings

Lithuanian Social Democrats
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

In January, the popularity of the Social Democrats, led by Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, stood at 20.9%. It represents a 2.1-point drop which is within the margin of error.

Should Lithuania hold its parliamentary elections next Sunday, the opposition Liberal Movement would be supported by 13% of respondents, followed by the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats with 9.9%.

According to the poll, other parties to win mandates in multi-mandate district would include the ruling Order and Justice party (8.6%), the ruling Labour Party (7.4%) and the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union (6.8%).

Political scientist Mažvydas Jastramskis of Vilnius University notes that comparing the ratings with those from one year ago reveals some big shifts in Lithuanian parties’ political fortunes.

While the Social Democrats have maintained their level of support at around 20%, “configuration of other parties has changed over the year,” according to Jastramskis.

“The Liberals have risen and now cling to the second or third spot. Two other ruling parties have interesting positions – last year, Law and Order had a better position which is now less certain. Interestingly, both Order and Justice and the Labour Party are almost equal to the Peasant and Green Union, which was far behind a year ago,” he says.

Commenting on whether recent corruption suspicions concerning the Social Democrat Healthcare Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė, Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas and the Social Democrat Druskininkai Mayor Rimantas Malinauskas impact the prime minister’s and his party’s ratings, Jastramskis said PM Butkevičius was quite good at containing the harm. “The prime minister is very good at giving the impression that, on the one hand, he cares about everything, but, on the other, he is not directly responsible for every minister in his cabinet or every member of his party. In terms of maintaining a goof image, he is doing quite well,” the political scientist said.

Butkevičius personal ratings have not suffered. He was named as the best candidate for the post of prime minister by 31.9% of the respondents (almost unchanged from 31.3% last December), way ahead of runners-up: Liberal leader Eligijus Masiulis (7.9%), Order and Justice leader Rolandas Paksas (6.4%) and Conservative leader Gabrielius Landsbergis (5.3%).

The poll of 1,004 adult respondents was conducted by Spinter Tyrimai (Spinter Surveys) public opinion and market research company on January 20-27. The margin of error is 3.1%.

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