The results of the survey on electoral emotions in Lithuania

The method of survey: sociological CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) research. Sociologists interviewed 1,000 internet panel participants, who represent Lithuanian public opinion and are broken down in terms of demographics and geography. 

The  period of the survey:  from the 17th to the 23th of May, 2019, before the second round of presidential elections (26 May 2019).

The questionnaire was composed in order to reveal what emotion: hope, fear or humiliation, was evoked by each of Lithuania's two presidential candidates: Ingrida Simonyte and Gitanas Nauseda.

 

The general data revealed that Gitanas Nauseda elicits the emotion of hope almost twice as often as Ingrida Simonyte. He practically does not evoke any humiliation and evokes a rather low level of fear among voters. 

 

What best describes the emotion you feel towards presidential candidates?

(all respondents)

General data (%)

 

G. Nauseda

I. Simonyte

Hope

43.5

26

Fear

7.5

19.3

Humiliation

2.3

11

Hard to say

46.7

43.7

 

 

The reason the politics elicit certain emotions reflects the true relationships, social problems and preferences among different strata of Lithuanians.

 

 

 

Hope for Gitanas Nauseda

 The general results of the survey showed that Lithuanians are more concerned about Lithuania's economy than the nation's foreign policy: they hope that G. Nauseda “will achieve social justice in the country” (28.6% of those who claim the candidate makes them feel HOPE) and “he will overcome corruption in Lithuania with the help of reforms” (32.8% of those claiming G.  Nauseda makes them feel HOPE), only 9% of those who claim G. Nauseda elicits hope cite foreign policy – they hope that he will continue Lithuania's firm stance with respect to Russia`s government.

 

Voters` emotions for Ingrida Simonyte

Hope

The partisans of I. Simonyte more often hoped that “she will continue Grybauskaite’s legacy of maintaining a firm, no-nonsense attitude toward the Kremlin and protect our independence” (30.4% of those citing HOPE for I. Simonyte),  they hope very much that she “will effectively pursue social justice in the country” (43.4% of those citing HOPE for I. Simonyte), but they don't believe at all that she can eradicate corruption in the country (only 3.4% of those citing HOPE for I. Simonyte)

Fear

I. Simonyte elicits a rather high level of fear among Lithuanians – almost every fifth person polled (19.3%) is afraid of her as a politician.  The reasons for this emotion are: 

  •  She will protect the interests of the rich people, rather than ordinary people (34.5% of those citing FEAR for I. Simonyte)
  • I am afraid that the conflict with Russia will be her excuse for declining living standards (25.2% those citing FEAR)
  • She will not be able to fight corruption effectively (21.8% of those citing FEAR)

 

Humiliation

Remarkably, I. Simonyte mostly elicits Humiliation because “She is concerned with the immediate needs of her surroundings, rather than the interests of the people” (53.9% of those who feel HUMILIATION). This can be associated with the fact that  I. Simonyte  participated in elections as an independent candidate but  with the financial support of the Party of Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats.

21.3%  of those who chose Humiliation, feel this emotion because  “The President of Lithuania cannot be a person who has failed to build traditional relationships”.

 

 

Village vs City

The survey showed the difference between the inhabitants of cities with a population of more than 200,000 and small towns (less than 2,000 people).

The two candidates elicit almost an equal amount of hope among the citizens of big cities: Ingrida Simonyte – 40.3% and G. Nauseda – 39.5%.

However, G. Nauseda inspires hope among 44% of inhabitants of small towns and villages (less than 2,000 people), while I. Simonyte elicits hope among 17.2% and fear among 26%. 

The full results of OMF's “emotional survey” include numerous strata: generations, genders, level of welfare, nationality etc.

The Open Mind Foundation obtained its polling results only three days before election day (26 May 2019). Having analyzed the results, OMF President Savik Shuster shared his opinion with the media that G. Nauseda would win the elections  with a considerable margin

The result of hope for I. Simonyte amounted to 31.9% among those who planned to vote. She got 32.86% in the elections. So the level of hope for this candidate had been quite equal to the real results.

 

 

OMF's research of mass emotions has allowed us to consider the strata which the new elected president G. Nauseda has to pay to attention: the inhabitants of big cities, men, the 19-29 year-old generation, etc. 

We see that the new president has to address the most urgent social problems facing Lithuania: corruption and social inequality. If he achieves this, he will definitely unite the nation.

Researchers didn't only ask questions about mass emotions. They asked Lithuanians what their attitudes were towards their legislators in the Europe Parliament and their attitude about the possibility of Ukraine entering the Europe Union.

Which statement most closely resembles how you feel? (choose one option please)

  • Lithuanian MEPs protect our interests and do everything to make us live better – 33.7%
  • Lithuanian MEPs only collect high salaries and do nothing for us – 66.3%.

Do you think that the European Union should be expanded to include Ukraine?

  • Yes – 46.4%
  • No – 23.7%
  • Hard to say – 29.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to a theory proposed by one of the most eminent political scientists, Dominique Moïsi, there are three base collective emotions that shape the geopolitical climate of territories: collective Hope, collective Fear and collective Humiliation.  These collective emotions reflect the level of the people's confidence in the future. The Open Mind Foundation applied this theory to its electoral research.