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60% of Russians would vote for Putin if elections were held now

March 19, 2014, 22:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 19, /ITAR-TASS/. 60% of respondents would vote for President Vladimir Putin if elections were held on the nearest Sunday, according to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation on March 16.

Three thousand respondents in 204 towns in 64 Russian regions took part in the poll. The margin of error was 3.3 percent.

Analysts say that the results of the poll indicate that Putin’s electoral rating remains stable and exceeds that before the presidential elections in 2012. Putin’s rating increased by 7 percent in the last week and by 15 percent in the last month.

Political scientists and sociologists believe that Putin’s current electoral rating suggests that in a real election he would won the first round with a landslide vote of more than 80 percent.

Dmitry Abzalov, President of the Centre of Strategic Communications, told ITAR-TASS that the growth of Putin’s rating reflects the public understanding of the degree of responsibility assumed by the head of state when he was making the decision on Crimea.

The rating was also boosted by the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi.

“As for Crimea, it is responsibility which, in the minds of people, the head of state assumes,” Abzalov said, adding that the rating was also pushed up by foreign policy success which is “perceived as the personal decision of the president and his personal responsibility.”

The Sochi Olympics are also regarded by people as Putin’s personal project. “The Olympic Games added some 7-8 percent [to the president’s rating]. Crimea game just as much and this was before March 19. Clearly, yesterday’s statements and events [admission of Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia] would increase it further,” Abzalov said.

Pavel Danilin, Director-General of the Centre for Political Analysis, also attributed the growth of Putin’s electoral rating to the success of the Olympic Games and the incorporation of Crimea into Russia.

He believes that Putin’s electoral rating may grow to 84 percent.

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