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Opionion poll in Serbia

[..]the results of the latest public opinion poll in Serbia carried out from December 12-19, 1999 (on the territory of Serbia, excluding Kosovo on a sample of 2,039 citizens) by the Centre for Politicological Research and Public Opinion of the Institute for Social Sciences in Belgrade.

[..]That means that the vast majority does not approve of the regime's current policy. For example, asked whether bombing of Yugoslavia could have been avoided, 59 percent of citizens said that it was possible with wiser foreign policy, while only 28 percent thought that it was inevitable. Apart from the followers of the ruling coalition no one else thought that the bombing was inevitable.

[..]The pollsters also point to an interesting turnabout in public opinion when it comes to Kosovo. The best solution for Kosovo and Metohija for 34 percent of interviewed citizens lay in high degree of its autonomy within Serbia. The above-average number of DSS (46 percent), SZP and SPO (40 percent, respectively) followers were in favour of this solution. According to some 24 percent of citizens division of Kosovo into Serbian and Albanian part would be the best solution which is a marked increase in relation to previous findings: just a year earlier only four percent of citizens were in favour of the division of Kosovo. Some 16 percent of citizens were in favour of the return to the pre-war situation, even by force if need be. From the point of age, the largest number of those who were in favour of the use of force belong to the oldest (21 percent of respondents were over 60 years of age) and youngest age groups (19 percent were up to 29 years). In other words, those who have no conscription obligations or those without much experience are more belligerent than others.

Also, Radical Party (46 percent) and Socialist Party (31 percent) supporters showed greater belligerence than any other interviewed group, while only six percent of SZP, 11 percent of SPO and 17 percent of DSS supporters were in favour of this option.

According to this survey, former NBY Governor Dragoslav Avramovic got the top ratings and is by far the most popular politician about whom the majority of citizens have favourable opinion. Second on the list is Vojislav Kostunica with equal number of pollees having favourable and unfavourable opinion of him, while all other politicians were negatively assessed by respondents. Only 20 percent of interviewed citizens expressed favourable opinion and 56 unfavourable opinion of President Milosevic, 18 percent had favourable and 52 unfavourable opinion of Vuk Draskovic, 13 gave positive points and 57 negative points to Zoran Djindjic and 13 percent had high and 64 percent low opinion of Vojislav Seselj.

Dragoslav Avramovic got the best ratings from the followers of the Alliance for Change - 89 percent, Democratic Party (DS) - 90 percent, and the Serbian Revival Movement (SPO) - 71 percent, but also from sympathisers of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) - 54 percent, electoral abstainers (42 percent) and uncommitted voters (46 percent). Members of Kostunica's party all hold him in high regard (94 percent), as do the sympathisers of the Democratic Party (60 percent), Serbian Revival Movement (59 percent) and of the Alliance for Change (50 percent). Favourable opinion of other politicians, were mostly expressed by their own party membership.

The local public does not have high opinion of politicians. Over one half of the citizens think that none of the politicians deserve their trust.

[..]In all likelihood, by refusing to call early elections the parties from the ruling coalition are biding time and hoping to improve their rating through a continuous campaign (by promoting results achieved in the "reconstruction and rebuilding of the country", by promoting their own patriotism, boasting of military victories over NATO, intimidating citizens with a possibility of continued aggression with "different means", scaring people with a possibility of new NATO strikes, by discrediting the opposition parties as "traitors and foreign mercenaries").

This approach is not unfounded. Namely, the following facts also confirm significant changes in electoral preferences: out of the total number of voters who voted for SPS at the 1997 elections, 42 percent have no intention of giving their vote to this party again. These disappointed voters have "moved" to the category of floating and abstaining voters rather than opting for some other party. There are many of those who intend to turn out at the elections but are undecided which party to vote for - about two fifths of the electorate.

The opposition seems unable to make use of this heterogeneous "reservoir" of votes, although all surveys have shown that citizens inclined to the opposition are predominant. Pollsters claim that the major problem for opposition parties is to translate citizens' support of the opposition into electoral victory. These citizens who mostly abstain from voting at elections, feel the same dissatisfaction with the opposition as with the parties in power, as well disbelief that the disunited opposition could ever win the elections. Only one sixth of citizens (26 percent) think that opposition parties will be able to form one or two coalitions for the forthcoming elections and thus prevent the dissipation of voters and motivate them to turn up at the elections in greater numbers.

Source: AIM
(Alternativna Informativna Mreza /Alternative Information Network in former Yugoslavia)

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