MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin’s chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev, will win 71 percent of the votes in March’s Russian presidential election, state-owned pollster VTsIOM predicted on Thursday.
Medvedev, who enjoys full Kremlin backing and blanket coverage in state-owned media, has been consistently way ahead of his opponents in all polls published to date.
The pollsters also analysed the past likely behavior of voters to suggest Medvedev’s final support could rise to 74 percent when other factors, such as likely turnout for candidates in past elections, are taken into account.
VTsIOM predicted Communist Party Leader Gennady Zyuganov would come in second place with 12.8 percent and nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky in third with 11.5 percent.
The survey was conducted on Jan 26-27 among 1,600 committed Russian voters in 46 regions.
Andrei Bogdanov of the tiny Democratic Party received 0.9 percent of the predicted votes.
Amongst confirmed voters, Medvedev’s 71.2 percent support towers over the 6.1 percent for Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov’s 5.6 percent. VTsIOM said the margin of error was 3.4 percent and anticipates a 70.7 percent turnout on March 2.
However, VTsiom’s chief Valery Federov cautioned a further 15.9 percent of likely voters did not reveal who they would support.
He said it was impossible to predict how Medvedev’s decision not to participate in television debates would affect his vote, though a separate portrait of him found he was positively perceived by voters.
“In the view of the overwhelming majority of voters, Medvedev looks very confident, very positive, and very respectable virtually on all personal characteristics,” Fyodorov said.
While 74 percent of those polled described Medvedev as well-mannered and educated, only 3 percent consider him crude or cruel, Fyodorov said.