67 percent of Russians want Putin to stay in power after 2018" />

Putin’s popularity ratings highest in five years

67 percent of Russians want Putin to stay in power after 2018

Levada Centre, an independent Russian sociological research organization, has pulled a decoy on its respondents in a recent pre-election survey, asking them what they made of electability prospects of “presidential candidate Andrei Semenov”, someone who does not really exist.

The question put to them was along the following lines: “Andrei Semenov has Vladimir Putin’s support. Will you support his bid for presidency?”

It turned out 18 percent of Russians were willing to vote for “Semenov”. Interestingly, 15% of all respondents were prepared to support the candidate even though they knew nothing about him.

The presidential election is due in Russia in March 2018. In a latest poll by the Levada Centre (conducted in August 2017), 67 percent of the respondents said they wanted Putin to continue being their president after 2018. This is the highest popularity rating Putin has enjoyed in five years.  Only 2 percent said they would vote for Putin’s main opponent, Aleksey Navalny. The findings are not indisputable, though, pollsters from the Levada Centre say. In countries with high incidence of censorship, political persecution and repressions, the margin of error can be big, as pollees often tend to give answers that are loyal to the government, they said.

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