GLOBSEC Trends 2024 Bulgaria

trends bulgaria

The main patterns in Bulgarians’ dispositions for the current year reveal both persistent continuities with views expressed in 2023.

  • Bulgarian respondents remain firmly committed to EU membership, while pro-Russian attitudes are also entrenched as ambivalence in assessing responsibility for the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine continues unabated. Apprehension of migration and permissive views in relation to far-right nationalists represent additional lasting characteristics of the Bulgarian dispositional landscape.
  • At the same time, a growing momentum in favor of pro-Atlanticist positions and more positive evaluations of the media environment and lesser dissatisfaction with the government stand out in 2024. Support for NATO membership and perception of the US as Sofia’s crucial strategic partner have registered incremental gains. Bulgarians also perceive a greater degree of media freedom and are more likely to show a somewhat deeper attachment to democracy.
  • Nevertheless, Bulgarians’ Euro-Atlantic commitments are qualified by distinctive attitudinal traits. The respondents in the country are at once decidedly in favor of EU and NATO membership and, yet, feel disconnected (e.g. the EU is continuously seen as dictatorial), and remain oriented on the instrumental benefits from these organizations rather than shared values. Moreover, Bulgarians’ authoritarian-state leanings represent a lingering attitudinal liability (as Russia and China are still not overwhelmingly evaluated as threats).
  • A further conspicuous trend reveals that Bulgarians tend to harbor significant uncertainties, lack of orientation and information (and potentially concerns with providing socially desirable answers), which transpire in the high rates of “don’t know” responses. The latter are most prominent in relation to abstract concepts about politics (e.g. the essence and characteristics of liberal democracy, far-right nationalism) as well as events and developments, particularly of global significance (e.g. Beijing’s role in international affairs, Ukraine’s status, strategic partnerships). Instead, most certainty is displayed with regard to those issues that are of immediate relevance to national politics and discussions (e.g. the EU, the state of the media and the political system). The youngest age group of 18-24-year-olds register above-average “don’t know” responses (whereby the declining educational quality across the country could be feeding into this trend).
  • Youth attitudes generally fall in line with predominant stances in the rest of society and are not distinguished by a significantly more pro-democratic, socially tolerant and pro-Western bent.
  • The most significant cleavage that emerges as regards demographic data related to place of residence and type of settlement is that between the different regions of Bulgaria rather than between urban and rural dwellers. The North East region distinguishes itself with more democratic, progressive and pro-Western views, while the attitudinal differences between those who live in cities and villages are less stark.

Read more details on Bulgaria in the briefing paper below prepared by the Institute for Global Analytics.

GLOBSEC Trends 2024 summarizes polling data on 9 Central and Eastern European countries: Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Respondents were asked about the EU, NATO, Ukraine, strategic partners and threats, democracy and the perception of various societal groups. The poll does not only allow for highlighting regional differences, but some questions are used to track changes in public opinion over time. In Bulgaria, the survey took place between February 10 and February 27, 2024 on a representative sample of 1000 Bulgarian respondents based on stratified multistage random sampling in the form of computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). The profiles of the respondents were representative of Bulgaria according to gender, age, education, place of residence and size of settlement.

The full GLOBSEC Trends 2024 report in English is available here.