Comedian strengthens Ukraine presidential poll lead

KIEV: Comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a political novice who plays a fictional president in a popular TV series, has strengthened his lead in Ukraine’s presidential election race, according to an opinion poll published on Monday.
But support for the 41-year-old remains far below the level needed to secure outright victory in the March 31 ballot, and most voters still do not expect him to become president, the KIIS survey showed.
The poll by the Kiev-based research body showed Zelenskiy on 20.7 per cent of votes, with incumbent Petro Poroshenko second on 11 per cent and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko third on 8.1 per cent.
Another survey, conducted by three research bodies including Razumkov centre and KIIS, showed that 21.6 people were ready to support Zelenskiy versus 12.9 per cent for Tymoshenko and 12.7 for Poroshenko.
Thirty-nine candidates have registered for the election.
Ifno candidate wins 50 per cent of the votes cast, the top two will face each other in a run-off on April 21.
KIIS said it interviewed 2,004 voters in all regions, except annexed Crimea, from March 14-22.
The joint survey interviewed 15,000 voters in all regions, apart from Crimea, from March 5-14. KIIS said 22.6 per cent of those it questioned favoured Zelenskiy to win, 16.5 per cent expected Poroshenko to be re-elected and 12.1 per cent saw Tymoshenko as the winner.
Following is a table showing the percentage support for leading candidates among voters planning to take part in the election in three recent polls: (*Updated):
SOCIS *Joint survey *KIIS March 9-14 March 5-14 March 14-22 Volodymyr 20.46 21.6 20.7 Zelenskiy Petro 13.25 12.7 11.0 Poroshenko Yulia 9.50 12.9 8.1 Tymoshenko Yuriy 6.88 6.5 6.7 Boyko Anatoly 6.20 7.5 4.5 Hrytsenko. — Reuters