In the latest ratings – a message from the citizens to Nausėda and a severe warning to the Conservatives

Citizens sent good news to the country's leader, Gitanas Nausėda, and a warning signal to the ruling Conservatives. This is according to the results of a poll conducted by Vilmorus on 15–23 March.

Ingrida Šimonytė and Gitanas Nausėda.<br>Collage by
Ingrida Šimonytė and Gitanas Nausėda.<br>Collage by
Daugiau nuotraukų (1)

Apr 5, 2024, 12:58 PM

Twelve candidates were still in the running for the post of Head of State at the time of this poll, but last week, only eight remained.

Valdas Tutkus, Arūnas Rimkus and Gintautas Kniukšta, who had more ambition than ammunition, had to drop out. The trio failed to collect 20,000 signatures from citizens supporting their candidacies.

But the biggest surprise was the white flag raised by Aurelijus Veryga. More precisely, the decision of Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the Peasants and Greens Union, to withdraw support for his party's candidate and to endorse lawyer Ignas Vėgėlė in the presidential elections became the biggest surprise.

This is supposed to reduce the chances for the Conservative representative, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, to make it to the second round of the elections.

It is difficult to say whether such a tactic, based on arithmetic, will work. For example, this time, Vilmorus, in addition to the question, „For whom do you intend to vote in the presidential elections in Lithuania?“ also asked the additional question, „If this candidate were not there, for whom else could you vote?“.

The answers were more favourable to Nausėda. 11.6% of respondents would support the candidacy of the current Head of State, while 8.6% would support the nomination of Vėgėlė. In other words, the votes that could have gone to Veryga would not necessarily go to Vėgėlė.

So far, Nausėda is the clear favourite.

In the second half of March, more than 40% of voters intended to vote for Nausėda. Given that around 15% of citizens were undecided, there is even a chance that Nausėda could win already in the first round.

However, this poll was conducted before the uproar following the findings of the Seimas Special Commission of Inquiry. The findings cast shadows on the incumbent President due to a potentially opaque previous election campaign and links to the Belarusian fertiliser business.

It will not take long to see how much this will affect Nausėda's ratings.

In any case, political scandals have already affected the attitude towards the camp of the ruling Conservatives.

The unexpected resignation of the Minister of National Defence, Arvydas Anušauskas, has somewhat undermined the popularity of this politician. Still, the population seems to have been even more unhappy with the actions of Ms Šimonytė, who has decided to part with a member of the government she leads.

In February, 26% of respondents had a favourable opinion of the Prime Minister, while 56.1% had an unfavourable opinion of her, and in March the figures were 20% and 63.5% respectively. At that time, 8.9% of the respondents intended to vote for Šimonytė in the presidential elections (11% in February).

The blow of disapproval from the public was also felt by Gintautas Jakštas, the Conservative-appointed Minister of Education, Science, and Sport.

This politician was rated favourably by 15.9% and unfavourably by 39.5% of respondents (in February, the figures were 19.1% and 27.9%, respectively). No doubt, the errors and misunderstandings that accompanied the intermediate examinations of eleven-year-olds have impacted the Ministry's assessment.

The rating of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats has also fallen quite sharply recently. If the Seimas elections were held now, 7.4% of citizens would vote for the right in a multi-mandate constituency, compared to 11.3% at the end of the winter.

Some of the people who have turned away from the Conservatives now seem inclined to vote for the Liberal Movement, the Union of Peasants and Greens, or the Democratic Union’ In the Name of Lithuania’. All three of these parties have recently seen an increase in their supporters.

The Social Democrats continue to be the convincing leaders of the party rankings. As many as 20% of respondents would vote for them in the Seimas elections. The leader of the left, MEP Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, also continues to bask in the rays of popularity, falling below only Nausėda in terms of the favourable opinions expressed by citizens.

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