An anti-Western party which soared in opinion polls in recent months has dropped by 3.5% since last month after Russia invaded Ukraine, an opinion poll showed Wednesday.
The AUR party had been rising steadily in the polls since August 2021. In January, it was the second-most popular party in Romania according to the INSCOP poll.
But support for the anti-system party took a hit after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The party which is known for its anti-vaccine and anti-Western stance was hesitant in criticizing Russia or President Vladimir Putin.
Instead, it organized protests against Romania’s pro-Western President Klaus Iohannis and parroted the pro-Russian line which cost it voters. The disappearance of Covid-19 from the top of the news agenda also hurt it.
The winner in the poll, carried out in early March, was the ruling National Liberal Party which gained 3.3%, to regain second place with 19.9%. The bounce is a result of President Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca’s hands-on approach to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“They are associated with credible institutions such as NATO and the EU, “ said Remus Ștefureac, director of INSCOP. The Liberals’ coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party lost -0.7% this month. It remains the most popular party with 32% of the probable vote.
The Social Democrats have lost 4.6% of their support according to the poll since they joined the coalition in October 2021.
Predicting what may happen to AUR support base, Mr Ștefureac added: “ We do not know at this time if the effects of the war in Ukraine on the voting intention are temporary due to the emotional context, or they will deepen „.
INSCOP surveyed 1,077 people by telephone between March 2-7, 2022. The poll has a 3% margin of error.