Ukrainian President Poroshenko's approval rating drops below ousted predecessor's

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich (L) and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko © Reuters
President Petro Poroshenko is currently less popular with the Ukrainian people than his predecessor Viktor Yanukovich was just before being ousted in an armed coup almost two years ago, a Gallup poll showed.

Poroshenko's approval rating dropped from 47 percent a few months after his election in May 2014 to just 17 percent after a year in office, the polling company reported. When Yanukovich was forced to leave office by armed crowds in February 2014, his performance was approved of by 20 percent of Ukrainians.

In Eastern regions still under Kiev's control roughly 11 percent of people polled approve of Poroshenko’s work as president. The rating dropped even lower in the south, where just 7 percent said the president was doing a good job. Approval ratings were around 22 percent elsewhere in the country.

Despite his poor performance in the polls, Poroshenko is not yet the least-approved-of president of Ukraine as recorded by Gallup. Yanukovich’s predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power in the wake of mass riots in Kiev in 2004, had a rating of just 7 percent in 2009, when his term was about to expire. Yanukovich came to power the following year with a 46 percent approval rating, much like Poroshenko had near the start of his term.

The low approval of the current president is still better than that of the government of Prime Minster Arseny Yatsenyuk, which is supported by 8 percent of the population, down from 24 percent in 2014. It is also one of the lowest trust levels Gallup has recorded in Ukraine since 2006.

Nine in 10 Ukrainians think their government is ‘rife with corruption,’ with only 5 percent believing enough is being done to fight problems in this area. The figure is similar to the 6 percent who said this in 2013 before the coup in Kiev.

Just 19 percent of Ukrainians say their government is taking the country in the right direction, with 65 percent saying the opposite is true. By comparison, only 5 percent said the leadership was headed in the right direction under Yushchenko in 2009, the lowest figure on record.

Gallup conducted the poll in July and August and excluded the rebel-held regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which account for approximately 2 percent of the Ukrainian adult population. Citizens of Crimea, which rejoined Russia following the coup in 2014, did not participate in the poll either.

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The current Ukrainian authorities came to power on the promise of distancing the country from Russia and integrating with the European Union. Over the almost two years they have been in power, they have managed to significantly cut trade with Russia while failing to increase exports to other nations. They have also cut social benefits and hiked the cost of utilities in order to secure loans from the International Monetary Fund, and have de facto defaulted on Ukraine's $3 billion debt to Russia.