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A recent poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre shows that despite protests ahead of the Russian presidential elections in March, Putin retains overwhelming popularity amongst the voters.
According to the quantitative study released in January, 52 percent of those polled claim that they would vote for Vladimir Putin if the elections were held tomorrow, with Ziuganov and Zhirinovsky lagging behind with the support of 11 percent and 9 percent of potential voters respectively.
Only 16 percent say that they would under no circumstance vote for Putin, and Putin is also rated as the most trustworthy of all Russian politicians, with his closest rival being the incumbent President Dimitry Medvedev.
It was also found that among those involved in the December protests, a fifth are as yet unsure of who they will vote for in the upcoming elections, whilst Yavlinsky and Prokhorov were each the preferred candidate for 17 percent of the protesters.
Valery Fedorov, the general director of VTsIOM, commented: “It is clear that there is no obvious alternative to Putin, even for those vehemently opposing his candidacy for President. The opposition is extremely heterogeneous and has little shared vision for the country’s future. This is reflected in the confusion of the Russian public.”
It was further found that the protestors felt secure about their financial well-being. A third regarded their standard of living as good or very good, and only 9 percent were dissatisfied with their current economic well-being. This echoes the general sentiment among the Russian population. Fedorov adds: “With the Russian economy registering year-on-year growth, Russia is weathering the financial crisis far better than its neighbors in Europe.
“The results show that despite the crisis in the Eurozone, 58 percent of Russians say they believe that their standard of living will improve in 2012. At the advent of the financial crisis in 2009, only 48 percent of Russians were optimistic about their future. The ten percent rise in optimism can be accredited to the stability of the Russian economy.”
The Presidential elections will be held on March 4, only a few months after the results of the general elections brought thousands of protesters onto the streets of Moscow. The protesters questioned the margin by which the ruling United Russia party won the elections and claimed that election rigging had taken place. United Russia continues to hold a majority in the State Duma.