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Electoral Research and Predictions in Bulgaria: Contextual and Methodological Challenges

TitleElectoral Research and Predictions in Bulgaria: Contextual and Methodological Challenges
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsMirchev, Mihail S.
Conference Name1st European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
Keywordsbrutal antidemocratization, close and distant periphery, contextual and methodological challenges, controlled vote, double effect of manipulation, early warning, elections 2011, electoral gaps, Electoral research and predictions, eroded electoral core, flash-party, left-right democracy, media context, microdata and macrodata indicators, organized chaos, party partisans, party positioning, party trends, populist prevalence and domination, research agencies, research background, supply side, the convenient third, transition decades, types of research

The analysis is focused on the political situation and the research monitoring in Bulgaria. The accent is put both on microdata and the methodological challenges to really precise electoral predictons as well on macrodata and the methodology of expert assessment of structural and contextual impact.

The analysis is build on the research experience, used variables and thesaurus and the data base of ASSA-M and some of the other well-known research agencies in Bulgaria. It starts with the history of sociology in Bulgaria, the research background of electoral studies and monitoring, as well as the research profile of my agency ASSA-М ( A detailed analysis of both presidental and local elections, conducted a month ago, is also presented. It is the base on which five electoral phenomena, which pose significant methodological challenges, are outlined.

Firstly, the main political parties trends and their transformation from classic left-right division to populist domination, up to brutal forms of one-leader-centured and one-party domination are presented and analyzed – particularly, the classic left and right since the 90’s and their current state of art, typical flash party since 2001 and the domination of populist-right-party since 2009.

Secondly, three political Transition Decades are distinguished. The First TD (1990-2000) – development of real democracy of civil rights and pluralism of western type: left-right political democracy, two main parties in a two poles system, as well as an abundance of small parties in the center, in the left and in the right; The Second TD (2001-2010) – transition to populist-party domination, the first was flash-party and the second is one-leader-centered-party; The Third TD (2010-2020?) – transition to one-party-domination with activity toward a new dictatorship regime. It is outlined that the negative political transformation in Bulgaria should be taken as an Early Warning of a common risky process in the EU as a whole.

Thirdly, a detailed description and analysis of the used system of devices of “controlled vote” as an extraordinarily dangerous antidemocratic practice is also provided. The phenomena of controlled vote is a significant methodological challenge for the precise predictions of the electoral results. The “double effect” technique and the technique of the “the convenient third” are presented.

Fourthly, the increasing instability of the electoral groups is the next methodological challenge. We are facing the question: how to upgrade the indicators and filters? This instability has two sides: the destabilization and disentangling of the old political parties’ cores and the “floating” peripheries, which become simultaineously more and more massive and devided in two separate parts: close and distant.

Fifthly, another form of the increasing instability is the spread of the electoral groups which make their final decision who to vote for in the last days before the elections. The main reasons for that are the spread of the entropy of ideological party identity and the accumulation of frustration from the policy making of all big ruling parties.

Electoral research and prediction in Bulgaria_Mihail Mirchev.pdf294.23 KB