Ukraine Crisis Election Panel Survey (2014-2015)
Prof. Henry Hale (P-I, George Washington University), Prof. Timothy Colton (Co-PI, Harvard University) Dr. Olga Onuch (Co-PI Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and University of Manchester) and Dr. Nadiya Kravets (Co-PI, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute), led a research team studying the politics of the Ukrainian crisis of 2014.
The study explored the drivers of protest participation in polarised societies, the effects of conflict on voting behaviour, how to best measure and capturing ethnolinguistic identity in social surveys research, blame attribution in times of crises, and role of geographic region in driving public attitudes.
The project investigated how citizens formulate attitudes and make political choices when confronted with political upheaval. The study centred around understanding how Ukraine’s citizens make election choices for president in the context of four institutional crises: (1) the weakening of ordinary channels of representation and the associated rise in protest activity and revolution; (2) the challenge that has been posed to Ukrainian national identity, territorial integrity, and statehood; (3) the forced choice between “Europe” and “Russia”; and (4) the failure or subversion of existing state institutions.
To address these questions, the investigators worked with a leading Ukrainian survey research organisation to conduct a nationally representative poll of 2,015 adult citizens of Ukraine during May 16-24, 2014–right before the first presidential election after the February 2014 Euromaidan Revolution.
This survey collected data on Ukrainians’ perception of the country’s post-revolution crisis as well as their views regarding the upcoming election. The research team re-interviewed 1,406 of the same people again shortly after the presidential election, June 24 – July 13, 2014, to see how people actually voted and to take a new measure of their views and opinions in light of the ongoing crisis.
A third and final wave of this “panel” survey was conducted during November 29-December 28, 2014, after Ukraine’s first post-revolution parliamentary election, successfully interviewing 1,373 of the original respondents to gather information on their voting patterns and more information on their views as the crisis continued through the end of the year. During the grant period, three of the investigators travelled to Ukraine, including eastern and western Ukraine as well as Kyiv, to observe the situation there first-hand and obtain information that would help in analysing the survey results. The investigators have since that time prepared a series of papers and reports on the findings, presenting them in a number of forums in the US and elsewhere. One policy memo has been published in the PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo series and another piece published in a Washington Post blog using the findings. Other papers are being prepared for submission to scholarly journals, taking into account feedback and suggestions obtained from prior presentations.
The broader impacts of the project are especially connected with its implications for foreign policy. Ukraine’s crisis represents the most serious threat to European stability since the end of the wars in former Yugoslavia back in the 1990s, with some fearing it could spread to countries that are now in the EU and NATO. By shedding unique light on the public opinion dimensions of this crisis, especially by studying patterns of change at the individual level over time, the project contributes vital information for American policymakers seeking to understand the crisis and develop better policy as well as for Ukrainians themselves.
The project was funded by National Science Foundation RAPID Grant, US Government and Ukrainian Studies Fund.
Principle-Investigator Prof. Henry Hale, George Washington University.
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