07:58 GMT28 January 2020
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    On Friday, the Donetsk News Agency published incomplete results to polling appearing show that less than a third of the population of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic actually supported the republic. Ukrainian media and their liberal Russian allies quickly jumped at the chance to stick it to the DPR. But what did polling really reveal?

    The Donetsk News Agency, considered the official news agency of the fledgling Donetsk People's Republic, bungled the release of polling data collected by the Special Status Sociological Research Center. Figures released on Friday appeared to show that only 29 percent of the republic's residents had declared their antipathy to post-Maidan authorities in Kiev, which Ukrainian and Russian pro-Kiev liberal media took to mean that the DPR had no real support among the population. 

    Russian TV news channel Dozdh gleefully declared that the comprehensive polling data had shown that "less than a third of the residents of the self-proclaimed DPR actually support the separatists," adding that only a tiny minority "agreed that they consider themselves patriots of Russia…with only 10 percent of the DPR's residents considering themselves [as such]."

    Moskovsky Komsomolets also jumped in, saying that the polling had finally proven that "contrary to popular belief, it turns out that the majority of the residents of these territories are not against Maidan, and that they do not support the DPR."

    So what's behind the bungling of polling data that Ukrainian and pro-Kiev Russian media had so gleefully jumped on? Did the results really just 'definitively prove' that the fledgling republic has no public support? 

    First, it's worth noting that the sociological survey, conducted in August across 19 cities and towns throughout the DPR, is arguably one of the most comprehensive polls in the republic's brief history, with 6,500 residents queried in order to determine, in the polling agency's words, the real "dynamics of changes in public opinion."

    Secondly, the source of glee and amusement among the Ukrainian media and their Russian supporters appears to have been the result of an attempt by the Donetsk News Agency to stretch out their story on the poll's results, releasing them in small chunks, bit by bit, showing residents' responses from among a list of several options. 

    Realizing their mistake Saturday, only after pro-Maidan crowd had already had their field day, the DNA released the more detailed results of the poll, compiling them in one place. The complete poll results clarified that the answer "I'm against the authorities that came to power as a result of the events of Maidan," which garnered 29 percent support and became the basis for the anti-DPR media's hysteria, was found to have been one of only several answers to a question about why residents "for one reason or another, expressed support for the DPR." 

    Other answers included "I am a patriot of Donbass" (36 percent), "I am opposed to the oligarchs in power in Ukraine" (13 percent), and "I am a patriot of Russia" (10 percent). Only 4 percent of respondents said that they did not support the DPR, while 7 percent saying that they remained undecided. 

    The polling results thus showed that nearly 89 percent of respondents, not 29 percent, expressed support for Donbass autonomy and the DPR project, a message which the Donetsk News Agency had initially bungled, to the tremendous amusement of pro-Kiev media. However, the complete figures, released since then, should serve as a sobering reminder of reality on the ground in the DPR.

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    Tags:
    opinion polling, attitudes, polling, opinion poll, Maidan, Donetsk People’s Republic, Donetsk, Ukraine, Russia, Donetsk Region
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