The rating of Russia’s president is still very high. The Public Opinion Fund informs that 46% of the Russian population consider Putin’s work to be good or even excellent. Forty-one percent consider it to be satisfactory, while a minority of 8% say that Putin’s work is bad or very bad. The rest of those questioned hesitated to give an estimate of Putin’s work.
As for the attitude to the incumbent president, 67% said they like him, 23% do not care for him, and 7% think bad of the president. The attitude of 8% of the Russians to Vladimir Putin has improved within the last week, and 4% of the population have changed their opinion for the worse. The attitude of 85% of the Russians to President Putin has not changed.
The respondents were asked for whom they would vote if a presidential election took place next Sunday. The following results have been obtained: 51% would vote for Vladimir Putin, 13% would for Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, and 4% would vote for Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
At the same time, President Putin is as popular with Moscow’s population as in Russia on the whole; only 41% of Muscovites would vote for him again. As for Gennady Zyuganov, his popularity is even lower: he would receive only 9% of the votes in Moscow in a hypothetical presidential election.
The poll confirmed once again that the Russian president is still very popular among the majority of Russians. It seems to be very surprising for some experts, as some factors exist that are likely to mar Vladimir Putin’s image. The continuous war in Chechnya, problems with freedom of speech, and the poor material welfare of many Russians can be mentioned here.
For many Russians, it is hard to avoid comparing the incumbent president with ex-President Boris Yeltsin. To tell the truth, Vladimir Putin is very successful against the background of the ex-president. The ten years of Yeltsin’s eccentric behavior were disliked by the Russian people. Thus, the support to President Putin can be explained with the wish to have a president able to meet his promises and deeds, and the president has not disappointed the people yet. This sympathy can be also explained with Putin’s ability to avoid scandals of any kind, political or economic. Russian and foreign journalists and political scientists suppose that the launching of unpopular economic reforms will inevitably decrease Putin’s rating. The reason for such expectations is not perfectly clear: the tariffs on natural monopolies are on rise, the communal and housing reforms have already started. At the same time, it produces no negative effect on the president's ratings.
This means that Vladimir Putin is not likely to lose the support of the population within the nearest future. Moreover, the high rating of the president may come in handy: it will make for a successful realization of economic reforms in the country.
It is more problematic for the president to keep the faith of the population and not to refer to ratings regularly. Will Russia’s president cope with the dilemma?
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Photo from BBC archives
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/14/38221.html