The political rating of Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko has dropped from 45% down to 30.9% since the last presidential elections, reported the Independent Institute of Social and Economic Research that conducted a nation-wide poll (1,464 people) last April. Last presidential elections in Belarus took place on September 9, 2001. According to the Central Electoral Committee of Belarus, about 75% of the country's population voted for Lukashenko back then. Some independent sociological centres, though, insist that his pre-elections rating was not higher than 45%. The Independent Institute of Social and Economic Research states that the current rating of 30.9% is the lowest it has ever recorded over the many years of conducting polls. Apparently, only 32.4% of the respondents trust him as their President, he's considered as the ideal politician by just 26%, and only 14% would vote for him at hypothetical presidential elections of the joint state of Russia and Belarus. For the first time Lukashenko's opponents have become the majority.
When commenting on the results of the poll, Oleg Manaev, the Director of the Independent Institute of Social and Economic Research, said that this popularity decline had been due to two factors. 'The main reason is that the economic situation in the country has deteriorated badly and the level of life of ordinary people has gone down. More than 70% of the President's opponents mentioned that. About 60% of Lukashenko's opponents have had their salaries or pensions deferred, and 35% said it the situation was becoming unbearable,' Manaev explained. The other reason, he continued, was that 'most of the Belorussian population have no outlook for better times, about 60% of his opponents being convinced that emigration is the only way for find a good job. It is truly said that at the beginning of the 21st century, about 3 million of the Belorussians would rather live in a different country.'