Today, 9 days before the presidential elections, TNS opinion presented the results of its survey “Poll: Armenia on the Eve of Presidential Elections” describing the voting preferences and motivations of the Armenian voters, but also their views on the on-going campaigns of the various candidates. For this TNS opinion poll, implemented together with their local partner IPSC, 1 609 face-to-face interviews were conducted in all 10 regions (marzes) and 12 communities of Yerevan between 31 January and 5 February 2013, using the highest possible standards and extensive quality control measures, as outlined below. The poll was commissioned by European Friends of Armenia in order to contribute to a factual debate ahead of the elections (see below for more details about our motivation and the organisations involved).
“Using a large number of quality checks, we carried out this poll in the middle of the campaign period and received very reliable and consistent data.” comments Dr Steve Schwarzer, Director for Methods and Statistics at TNS opinion, Brussels. “Now we see that President Sargsyan still has the most certain voters and almost twice as many as runner-up Raffi Hovhannisyan. However, the respondents say that so far Hovhannisyan’s campaign appears more convincing, focusing on programmatic campaigning around mainly economic topics. Strikingly, he now gains more support from the former Prosperous Armenia voters than the incumbent President, a clear change compared to our last poll.”
As a result, if presidential elections took place last week, Serzh Sargsyan would have scored 58,0% [-10,6% compared to our January 2013 poll] of valid votes (valid responses are without “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer”; raw data with “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer”: 40,2% [-3,8%]). The poll now rates Raffi Hovhannisyan at 33,0% [+12,2%] of the valid votes (raw data: 22,9% [+9,6%]). To evaluate the likelihood of a second round, TNS opinion also assessed the certainty to vote and analysed the characteristics of respondents who did not reveal their voting intentions. Following this analysis, Hovhannisyan currently is positioned in a bandwidth between 26% and 34%, while Sargsyan scores between 58% and 66%, looking very likely to win in the first round – based on the situation two weeks before the elections.
The voters of Paruyr Hayrikyan, a candidate who was shot into the shoulder under unclear circumstances on 31 January (after the first fieldwork day of this opinion poll), are now much more certain that their decision is final and his awareness among the public has strongly increased. However, the people intending to vote for him remain stable at 4,9% [+0,1%] of the valid votes. Hrant Bagratyan now stands 1,6% points lower than in January, scoring 2,8% of valid votes. As in January, the remaining four of the eight official candidates are largely unknown to the poll respondents and altogether score less than 1,5% of valid votes.
“Apart from the candidates’ ratings, we were positively surprised by voters’ trust in these elections, an aspect which is important for Armenia’s democracy and its political weight. More than 2/3 of the population believes that the upcoming presidential elections will be organised in a better way than previous elections and a similar number of people perceives media to report in a more neutral and fair manner than in the past. The number of people who are certain that they will turnout to vote is almost the same as in the very competitive elections in May 2012.” says EuFoA Secretary General, Dr Michael Kambeck.