Putin heir Medvedev’s popularity soars

A7855674311.jpgThe popularity of Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has more than doubled since President Vladimir Putin named him his preferred successor two weeks ago, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.According to the poll, conducted by the independent Levada Centre polling company, 79 percent of those questioned would vote for Medvedev if a presidential election were held this weekend.

The poll, which allowed a 3 percent margin of error, was carried out between December 21 and December 25 among 1,600 people who had decided they would vote in the March 2 election. In mid-December, the figure was 35 percent.

The constitution does not allow Putin to stand in the election but the Kremlin leader has said he wants to retain political influence after he stands down.

Medvedev, Putin’s close associate for 17 years, has long been seen by political analysts as his potential successor.

However, Medvedev’s ratings, which floated around a modest 20 percent for months, started rocketing after Putin officially named him as his preferred candidate on December 10.

Medvedev’s latest popularity rating is higher than Putin’s own election results in 2004, when 71.3 percent of voters cast ballots for him.

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