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Russian Political Parties Electoral Rating Changing

The past year of 2014 was rich in political developments: “Euromaidan”, military conflict in the East of Ukraine, sanctions imposed against Russia, oil prices plummeting, Russian Ruble loss of value. In which way these changes affected Russians’ electoral preferences?

Bashkirova and partners Independent research agency has conducted a number of public opinion surveys over the year in order to trace the dynamics in ratings of this country’s leading political parties.

 

In the period between March and December 2013 the electoral rating for United Russia had gone down from 42% to 37%, and we may assume the decrease in trust was caused by a number of information campaigns connected to corruption as well as rejection by some part of the Russian public of a number of disputable legislative intentions.

During 2014 the United Russia Party’s rating got up by 20 p.p. from 37% in December 2013 to 57% in December 2014. The rising confidence level towards ‘the party of power” is above all conditioned by patriotic mobilization of the Russian society last March. In spring 2014 the Russian public consolidated. People of Russia joint hands against a common enemy (the new Ukrainian government). The Crimea has been attached and on the wave of the patriotic upsurge even a number of radical opponents of V.Putin (E.Limonov, K.Krylov and others) declared they supported him on the issue of the Ukrainian crisis and general foreign policy.

In spring 86% of our respondents were supporting the Russian president’s foreign policies.

At the same time the rating of support of V.Putin was growing fast, followed by growth of confidence in one of the main parties, supporting him. The rating of the party grew to reach 46% by May 2014 and 49% by the mid of summer. After sanctions having been imposed, the percentage of willing to vote for the “United Russia” rose by 8 p.p.

  

Women show confidence in the “party of power” most often than the others, (by 8 p.p. more often than men), as well as respondents with higher education (by 9 p.p. more often than people without higher education), young people of between 18 and 30 of age (by 6 p.p. more often than those of the middle age) and Russian citizens residing in the North Caucasus and Southern Federal districts (87% and 76% accordingly).   

The least support the party receives from the retired (47%), and residents of the North-Western Federal district (all in all 33%). The reason for such low support level in the Russia’s Northern regions could be cancellation (or huge reduction in number) of suburban trains in Vologda, Pskov and Tver oblasts. 

Respondent’s financial standing influences noticeably the willingness to vote for   “United Russians”. Amongst respondents defining Russia economy state as “poor” we can find by 17 p.p. UR supporters, than in the category of those thinking something is wrong with this country economy. In our respondents, who described their financial standing as “poor” there are by 16 p.p. less supporters of the party, than in respondents happy with their financial situation. This, perhaps, explains the party low electoral rating within the retired category – the least socially protected population category of this country.

We should note the high degree of correlation between the willingness to vote for the UR and confidence in the Russian television. Amongst the interviewed Russians, having total confidence in the television, the United Russia Party rating made 70%, while the figure is nearly twice smaller, i.e. just 36% for the group of respondents who don’t have trust in television at all.

  

The CPRF’s electoral rating after the period of fall in summer half of 2014 has come to stabilization.  Communists, having lost 2,5 p.p. (from 15% down to 12,5%) from March to December, were losing support during 6 months of 2014. Early May 10% of respondents were willing to vote for them, and in last July – only 8%. In December same 8% of Russians were ready to support the CPRF Party. The rating loss can be conditioned by focal shift of part of the population, nostalgic about the Soviet Union times towards foreign policy initiatives of the president and the government.

The CPRF electoral core can be described as a combination of the retired (out of Russian pensioners 27% are voting for the party), secondary education graduates, residents of the Central Federation District. There is twice greater number of communists’ supporters amongst respondents, unhappy with the economy state in this country compared to those, assessing the Russian economy positively.  The communist party chiefs should consider the low rating of the party within the young audience (4%) and respondents of 30-45 y.o. (5%). Perhaps G.Zyuganov should bring modifications to his party’s esthetics, learn speaking to Russians, having entered adult life after 1991, the language they speak.

  

Over the period under analysis (March 2013 – December 2014) the LDPR electoral rating has lost 3 p.p. and went down from 9% to 6%. We may assume the affecting factor for this reduction in rating is likely to be the same as for the Communist Party, i.e. move-over of some part of electorate from LDPR to “United Russia”. The greatest support to the party of V/Zhirinovsky is delivered by relatively young men of 18-45 of age (9%), and the least – by women (3,6%) and the retired (4%). We also have to look at the extremely poor support to the party in the North Caucasus Federal district (in total 1,5%), which isn’t surprising, as the party leader V.Zhirinovsky often uses right-wing and radical battle-cries particularly in time of election campaigns.

  

The Just Russia Party rating is the one that suffered the most dramatic fall in 2014. In 2013 (period from March to December) this party’s support has grown from 5% to 8%. In the first half of 2014 its rating dropped down to 3%, and remained at this small for a parliament type party, JR is, level (it’s worth reminding that in time of the parliamentary election of 2011 the party enjoyed votes of more than 13% of Russians). We can suggest the following reasons for this party rating drop this low: decrease in popularity of the party within the opposition-minded electorate and re-orientation of some of the party potential supporters to supporting the Russian President, the government and the “United Russia” after the Crimea attachment and Russia’s active involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.

 

The United Russia Party rating considerable growth is to great extent driven by a series of outside events (the Ukrainian crisis, sanctions etc.). So we may assume that as the conflict in the East of Ukraine de-escalates, the influence of social and economic factors on the electoral support level is going to increase. If the Russian government fails to manage the economic troubles, if stagnation or recession of home economy leads to noticeable living standard degradation in significant share of population, the party rating can go low, and its rivals, particularly those, using the eloquence of citizens’ social rights protection (these are CPRF and Just Russia above all) will be able to restore their positions.

 

This study was being conducted in the period from March 2013 to December 2014 based on all-Russia random route sample (18+) by means of face-to-face interviews in place of residence. Altogether 1500 respondents in 8 federal districts, 150 settlements, 200 sample points have been surveyed. The sample error makes up 2,5%.

 





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