Although the first round result indicates Yanukovych is far more likely to be sitting in the president's chair after the February 7th run-off, there is much for both of the two remaining candidates' teams to consider, particulary on how to hold or gain control over parliament and the cabinet of ministers.
Tymoshenko, a political fire-fighter and crisis manager par excellence always relishes the position of underdog - her chances of victory cannot be entirely written off. The recent rapidly fluctuating ratings of lesser candidates Serhiy Yatsenyuk and Serhiy Tihipko reveal that a significant portion of the electorate is soft. In light of recent OP's the Tymoshenko camp can be reasonably pleased that Yanukovych has not gained momentum and YVT has closed the gap between them to just over 10%.
The dilemma facing Yanukovych in the event of his victory is, if PoR are unable to quickly form a new ruling coalition in the current parliament, what will happen if parliament is, by some means, dissolved and fresh parliamentary elections called? Apart from extending the current long period of political instability well into Spring, what would the result of such fresh elections be when the immediate introduction of reform and crisis management programs via parliament is vital?
This weekend's vote suggests that parties led by the second-string presidential candidates, including the current president, would probably secure seats in any newly-elected parliament. Neither of the big two would gain overall command and the traditional destabilising horse-trading would continue. Tymoshenko could even remain PM for some time to come.
Tihipko and Yatsenyuk have much to consider too in their quest for political glittering prizes. They both must be confident that any political groups they lead would enter parliament in early parliamentary elections but would, however, remain lesser partners in any coalition. The youthful and sophisticated Tihipko in particular is a threat to PoR, his recent support has been principally at the expense of Yanukovych in areas where PoR dominate.
Some commentators even say that had Tihipko come in second in the first round presidential vote, Yanukovych would be 'dead meat' in the second round. But Tihipko will be most aware of the recent political trajectory of Yatsenyuk, also a formidable performer - their ratings can swing frightening quickly. Tihipko and Yatsenyuk's backers have made large financial outlays in their presidential campaigns which could all go to waste - and they do not have the party machines or financial hinterland of Ukraine's big two parties, Nasha Ukraina or even of the Socialists or Communists.
So what to do for him and Yatsenyuk? Offer support to YVT in exchange for a high cabinet post? Their endorsement and a subsequent defeat for Tymoshenko in the run-off could be damaging to their careers. Do nothing and just wait for parliamentary elections? By this time their moment may have passed.
For the next three weeks Yanukovych's minders will be sitting tight too, doing their utmost to ensure their man avoids any political banana skins. Yanukovych's core vote should hold and he will pick some votes from the eliminated candidates, as will Tymoshenko. But the wiser PoR people will have much on their minds right now - and Yulia T's team will be desperately working the telephones.
Update: According to one exit poll slightly more than half [about 57 to 43%] of Tihipko's voters would vote for Yanukovych rather than Tymoshenko in next month's presidential run-off. So more for Tihipko to consider.
Over 70% of Yatsenyuk's voters would vote for Tymoshenko according to the poll.
Incidentally, one of the reasons proposed for Tymoshenko's frequently depressed ratings in opinion polls is some Ukrainian male respondents do not feel comfortable openly declaring their support for a woman.
p.s. Tihipko's evenly spread support across all of Ukraine's regions, details of which can be seen on the Central Election Commission's website, is remarkable. [Refer to Rezul'taty holosuvannya - Po kozhnomu kandydatu at my link]. No other politician in Ukraine's history has managed such a feat. The challenge now for him is how to develop his political career on this platform.
p.p.s. A couple of interesting videos from F.T. here