Most likely, the presidential election in Russia will take place without any surprises. Experts say that the vote may end already after the first stage.
"Indeed, if we look at the data that we can get from all sociological organizations, even from those who remain critical of the sitting Russian administration, Putin's victory in the first stage of the vote is quite possible, to put it mildly," Maxim Grigoriev, the director of the Fund for the Research of Problems of Democracy said.
"All those data are representative enough, they are made on a high level and we found no traces that could let us assume that they were wrong," he added.
Putin's election rating has been growing steadily since the end of 2011. According to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the rating started with the level of 48% in January 2012 and reached 53.5% by the end of February. Experts say that Putin will obtain 58.6% of votes during the vote. The forecast for his closest competitor, Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party, is smaller. Zyuganov will receive approximately 14.8%.
Two other leading sociological agencies - The Public Opinion Fund (POF) and Levada provided similar information.
According to POF, Putin may receive 58.7% of votes, whereas Zyuganov - 16.2%. The forecast from this organization also said that other candidates - Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky - will receive 8.8 and 8.6% respectively. Sergei Mironov will come last with 6.1%.
Levada provided a curious forecast. Forty-five percent of the polled expressed their positive attitude to Putin in the research, which Levada conducted. The number of those who said that they would go the polls to vote for Putin is larger - 66%. According to Levada, Putin's election popularity has been growing during the recent two months.
Joseph Diskin, the co-chairman of the National Strategy Council, offered not to count much on the forecast of 66%. According to Diskin, the votes for Putin will vary from 58 to 60%. "If people do not think things like "Putin will win without us anyway" - and this is the only thing that may prevent Putin's victory in the first stage - then there will be no other stage of the vote, of course," the expert said.
Furthermore, Diskin believes that the more active the opposition acts, the more likely Putin's victory gets. "The activity of the opposition mobilizes those, who is concerned about instability and problems with the future of the nation," he said.
One should not equalize Putin and the party that he leads. "The data regarding the vote for United Russia and for Vladimir Putin are different. Putin's support is much wider, which means that his electorate is larger," Maksim Grigoryev said.
Taking into consideration the meetings in Putin's support, which took place in Russia in February (300,000 supported Putin in Moscow alone), one shall assume that there is nothing surprising about the numbers in the above-mentioned forecasts.