Russia politics: Quick View - Latest polls show still strong support for Putin

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Institution
Economist Intelligence Unit
Abstract
No abstract is available.
Topic
Politics, News Analysis, Forecast, Political stability
Political Geography
Russia

Event

Recent polls indicate that Vladimir Putin, the president, enjoys high levels of popular support in advance of the March presidential election.

Analysis

According to the Levada Center, an independent pollster, in November 2017 Mr Putin enjoyed 81% approval ratings. Levada's data suggest that the ratings have generally stayed around this level after jumping from 69% in February 2014 to 82% in March 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. This is in contrast to perceptions of the government as a whole. In November 42% of Russians endorsed the work of their government. This was the lowest rating for 2017. The Duma (parliament) was even lower that month, at 35%, a drop from 41% in October, illustrating low and declining levels of trust in government institutions.

Although support for the government's foreign policy has not stayed as constant as that for Mr Putin, and post-Crimea enthusiasm may be waning, it is not disastrously low either. The state-owned pollster All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) tracks Russian public opinion on domestic politics, economic policy, social policy and foreign policy. Between the first and second quarters of 2014, which cover the annexation of Crimea, those that said they were "fully happy" with how the government was managing foreign policy jumped from 50% to 59%, hitting a high of 61% in the third quarter. Although support dipped back down into the 50-59% range thereafter, the latest poll from December was up, at 65%.

Foreign policy is not necessarily the most critical area in deciding a national vote. According to the VTsIOM polls, domestic, economic and social policies have far lower approval ratings. Endorsement of economic and social policy in particular saw a much smaller gap between those who were satisfied with the government's policy versus those that were not. In a Levada poll published in October 2017, when asked what they "did not like" about Mr Putin, the answer with the highest percentage, albeit low at 15%, was that he "did not care about people...has forgotten about ordinary people".

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