Survey in Armenia reveals most pressing public concerns, popular officials and sources of discontent
A survey recently released by MPG (Marketing Professional Group, representing Gallup International in Armenia) gives a snapshot of the country’s most popular officials, the most serious public concerns and sources of discontent.
The Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and President Armen Sarkissian are the country’s most popular officials, receiving approval ratings of 83.2% and 83% respectively.
Public concerns in the country seem to be tending towards unemployment and low pensions as opposed to the formerly major concern of corruption.
As for foreign policy, around 30% of respondents said the country should maintain equilibrium in relations with centers of world influence. 27.6% said Armenia should gravitate towards Russia, while the European Union (21.1%) and the United States (15%) followed not fall behind.
Revolutionary expectations – still promises or already realities?
67.21% of respondents said that expectations that arose during the revolution of spring 2018 have been met to some extent. Only 9.1% said that all their expectations had been met. Meanwhile, 13.8% of respondents said they were completely disappointed.
Respondents who said that their expectations had largely not been met were asked to answer the question of why: 32.2% said ‘inexperience of the new government’, while 28.1% said that their expectations were higher. 27% said that their expectations had not been met due to the seriousness of the issues and their preceding reasons, 17.8% said that due to the lack of political will of the new government.
Appraising PM Pashinyan
More than half of the respondents or 54.9% consider the work of the government successful, while 36.3% strongly disagree with this opinion.
As for other individuals, Defense Minister David Tonoyan is the most popular among government members, while Education Minister Araik Harutyunyan has the lowest rating.
The work of the Prime Minister was fully given complete approval by 37.4% of respondents.
This is considerably lower than September 2018, when he received a 61.2% complete approval rating, just some six months after the revolution.
The prime minister’s shortcomings were noted by:
• 42% – unsuccessful personnel policy,
• 27.9% – the slow progress of reforms,
• 27% – soft attitude to members of the previous government,
• 18.8% – non-application of tough measures,
• 6.7% – lack of political will.
Parliament didn’t get off any easier.
The activity of the parliament was positively evaluated by 43.1%, while 46% were of the opposite opinion.
The survey revealed a low rating of the parliamentary opposition: about 50% of respondents are dissatisfied with the activities of the parliamentary opposition.
It also turned out that in the event of holding parliamentary elections more than half of the citizens of Armenia, 61.3%, said would again vote for the ruling My Step.
That is, the political force that came to power along with PM Pashinyan still enjoys a high rating.
Shifting public concerns
Respondents were also asked about the problems in the country that concern them most.
Here are the main answers:
• 34.1% of citizens reported unemployment,
• 34.1% – low pensions,
• 32.8% – economic situation,
• 24.1% – Karabakh conflict,
• 15.2% – poor state of the educational system,
• 10.3% – poor health care
• 7.7% – migration,
• 7.4% – foreign policy and defense issues,
• 7.2% – price increases and inflation,
• 7% – corruption.
“This is traditional. In Armenia, and not only here, the government rating is almost always higher than the rating of parliament. This is because the government is the body that does something, directly implements politics, and the parliament is the body where everyone simply speaks. In addition to this, the most qualified cadres are always in the government, the weaker cadres are in the parliament. Therefore, this situation is normal.”
Mikaelyan also commented on the high rating of President Armen Sargsyan. After the country’s transition to a parliamentary form of government, the president became a more ceremonial figure than a decisive player. However, Mikaelyan believes, Sarkissian “copes well” with his representative duties.
The high rating of the president, according to Mikayelyan, is provided for by other factors:
“As he does not express his position on any of the political issues, does not clash with anyone and does not hurt anyone, respectively, there are few reasons to dislike him. Moreover, let’s not forget, the presidential administration is conducting a fairly successful public relations campaign.”
Regarding the assessment of government performance, the political scientist believes:
“If initially the government had a charge of legitimacy and approval received from the revolution, now it has already managed in many ways to bring about its own inertia. In summer, the government’s rating sank, as did the ruling team’s rating. But in the fall it recovered. It turns out that at the moment there is no pronounced dynamic in public opinion. The situation is stable and the approval level is high.”