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Three political parties will qualify for the Duma

September 30, 2011, 12:01 UTC+3
Three political parties will qualify for the Duma, sociologists say
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MOSCOW, September 30 (Itar-Tass) — Three political parties will qualify for the Duma, sociologists say.

The United Russia Party (UR) may count on a constitutional majority in the next Duma, if popular feelings are not changed. The conclusion has been drawn by sociologists of the analytical Levada Centre on the results of the latest public opinion poll. Experts believe that since it is impossible now to vote “against all parties,” part of the opponents of the ruling party will vote for the Communists.

The pre-electoral ratings of all the parties with the exception of UR did not change during the first month of the electoral campaign, whose beginning was announced by President Dmitry Medvedev on August 29, The Kommersant writes. In September, the same as in August, 11 per cent of the polled were going to vote for the Communist Party, 8 per cent – for the Liberal Democratic Party and 4 per cent for the Just Russia Party. Two parties switched their ratings: in September Yabloko got 2 per cent and Right Cause 1 per cent, while in August it was the other way around. The rating of Patriots of Russia remains on the level of 1 per cent (on September 23-27 Levada Centre polled 1,600 residents of 153 cities and villages in 45 regions. The statistical error is 3.4 per cent). UR is the only party, whose rating went up during the past month (from 34 to 39 per cent).

UR attracted part of those, who are going to vote in the elections, but have not yet made up their minds. Last month they accounted for 17 per cent of the electorate, while the figure for today is 12 per cent. In August 13 per cent of electors were sure that they would not go to the polling stations. Today 12 per cent are determined to stay away from elections, while 1 per cent intends to cast damaged ballot papers.

UR rating went up over the past two weeks, Lev Gudkov, director of the Levada Centre, told The Kommersant. This is the result of regular TV programmes, in which President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promise “to create new jobs, to increase pensions and make other populist statements.” All this “boosts positive feelings among the public, which were rather pessimistic of late,” Gudkov believes. If the authorities really increase pensions and wages in the budget-financed sectors before the elections, the make-up of preferences may remain the same as in September. In other words, only UR, the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party will qualify for the Duma, with UR getting a constitutional majority of some 67 per cent, Gudkov believes.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta, which believes that more and more people are going to support the Communists, decided to analyse how the electors view the Communist Party today – as a party, supported by many people, or as substitute for the line “against all parties,” which is not to be found in the ballot papers today.

Rostislav Turovsky, vice president of the Centre of Political Technologies, also believes that Communists attract protest votes. “This is not a concrete ideology. This is the result of the absence of a choice, including for the liberally-minded electorate,” he said. In his opinion, the growing support for the Communist Party is connected with the policy pursued by the government. “The support given by the authorities to UR created two poles in society. Those who oppose the authorities vote for the Communists … It is more important for the electors to position themselves either as supporters of the government, or as the opposition. This is why voting for Communists means protest,” Turovsky said.

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