Almost half of Russian students ready to vote for Putin at presidential polls
On Friday, popular Russian daily Izvestia published the results of a poll conducted by the Laboratory of Political Research of one of country’s leading economic institutions – the Higher School of Economics. The poll was conducted among students of higher education establishments across the country – both state-sponsored and private.
A little over 47 percent said they would vote for current Russian President Vladimir Putin if the presidential election was held next weekend and, of course, if the incumbent president decides to run again. None of the other potential candidates managed to receive six percent support, while 12 percent of the respondents said they would not vote at all, and 15.4 percent said they had not yet decided who to vote for.
When asked to describe Vladimir Putin, most respondents mentioned qualities such as intelligence, self-restraint, charisma, responsibility, and love for the country. They also emphasized the president’s resoluteness – a quality, they believe, has helped him implement his policies in both the domestic and international spheres.
However, some students also noted that the strength of the president diminishes the importance of other top officials, and that Putin cannot run everything on his own.
The head of the Laboratory of Political Research, Valeria Kasamara, told Izvestia that Russian students describe themselves as the “Putin Generation” because they were born and raised during Vladimir Putin’s presidency. She also said that when asked who could theoretically replace Putin, they describe potential successors who resemble Putin instead of naming real-life alternatives.
Vladimir Putin has not yet announced whether he will run in the 2018 presidential race or not. When asked about serving another term as president, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said it was too early to discuss the issue. In early August, however, when a group of villagers in the Siberian Republic of Buryatia asked Putin via TV link to register as a candidate in the next election, Putin promised that he would think about it.
In early September, Putin again evaded the question about his plans, saying that he did not want to reveal them because “as soon as they announce election campaigns in our country everyone immediately stops working.”
A nationwide public opinion poll released by state-run research agency VTSIOM earlier this month showed that the president’s approval rating was at 82.2 percent – slightly down from 85.3 percent in early September, but still very high and exceeding the approval ratings of the Russian government and both chambers of parliament.