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MOSCOW, November 16 (Itar-Tass) —— More than half of Russians (56 percent) are ready to watch election debates on TV, as follows from an opinion poll published by the national public opinion studies center VTSIOM on Wednesday.
However, most of the potential viewers acknowledged that they will keep watching if they come across such a debate on the air casually, and only if the other channels will showing nothing worth seeing at the moment. It is noteworthy that according to the very same opinion poll political talk shows are very popular with Russian audiences. Such programs are watched by one in two (49 percent) of the polled.
The most expected topics of television debates the respondents had mentioned were pensions, youth policies, housing and utilities problems, education, the health service, and also the situation in the army, struggle against crime, and others.
The polled were asked to mention one or several politicians, whose presence on the screens would be of interest to them in TV debates. As it has turned out, 23 percent of the respondents would like to see debates featuring Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and twelve percent, President Dmitry Medvedev. Other most expected politicians are the leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party (Vladimir Zhirinovsky) and of the Communist Party (Gennady Zyuganov).
A tiny four percent mentioned Fair Russia leader Sergei Mironov. Those who would like to see debates by multi-millionaire Mikhail Prokhorov outnumbered viewers eager to watch debates with Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky taking part (three percent against one). One percent of Russians would like to see controversial blogger Alexei Navalny, or “some of the new politicians” participate in the debates.
The VTSIOM opinion poll was conducted on November 5-6, immediately after the start of electioneering in the mass media. The pollster questioned 1,600 men and women in 46 regions of Russia. The statistical error margin was no greater than 3.4 percent.