Backing for Russia’s ruling party has fallen again, with an opinion poll revealing that the number prepared to vote for the pro-Kremlin United Russia has dropped to the lowest level since 2013, with an election due this fall.
The poll, conducted by registered foreign agent the Levada Center, revealed that 42 percent of those decided would vote for the pro-Vladimir Putin faction, chaired by former President Dmitry Medvedev. Due to Russia’s electoral system this figure would likely still guarantee a majority of seats. However, the new estimates reflect a considerable drop in support since December 2017, when the figure was 58 percent.
Behind the ruling party came the far-right LDPR (19%) and the Communists (15%). While these parties have seen slight growth in popularity, no opposition faction has managed to take advantage of United Russia’s dip.
Indeed, the poll may suggest that a large amount of the public is looking for something different than the current systemic parties.
When including undecided respondents, United Russia’s figure of support drops to 27 percent, which marks a symbolic reversal of the support it gained following the reabsorption of Crimea in 2014. In October of that year, the party’s unadjusted rating reached 47 percent, excluding undecideds. It had been as low as 25 percent in June 2013.
In response, Konstantin Kostin, a member of the United Russia Expert Council, refused to accept that there is any serious downward trend in the rating. The party has received between 27 percent and 31 percent, in raw figures, in every poll since August 2018, and, according to Kostin, inaccuracies in the methodology are to blame for the latest figure.
“If you look at the polls that are conducted regularly, you can see that United Russia has a plateau (30%), around which fluctuations in one direction and the other are periodically recorded,” he said, according to Znak.
However, despite Kostin’s claims, the party must have some concerns with the 2021 parliamentary election just six months away. In the last plebiscite, in 2016, United Russia received 54.2 percent of the votes, coming away with a supermajority of seats. The ruling faction will want to do the same again in September.
“As long as the candidates aren’t actively engaged in campaigning, as long as the party’s manifesto hasn’t been announced, and as long as there are no debates, this is where United Russia’s should be,” he said.
“After the party conference is held, the program is announced, and the candidates begin to work with voters, the trend will be reversed: the rating will rise.”
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