Russian sociologists conducted a nationwide survey to find out whether Russians would like to support Putin at the next presidential election in the country in 2018, if he agreed to go for a fourth term, and if there were politicians, who could make Putin competition. The results were predictable - at least a half of the country believes that Putin works well as president and has no competitor in Russia. Most respondents said that they were certain that Putin would not have a competitor even in the near future.
According to the research, conducted by VTsIOM, 69 percent of Russians, who took part in the survey, said that they were certain of Putin's future as a politician. Seventy-three percent of respondents said that they were ready to cast their votes for him at the next election.
Only eight percent of respondents said that there could be a politician, capable of becoming a serious rival to Putin. Noteworthy, the number of Russian citizens, who believe that Vladimir Putin has very good political prospects, has grown 1.5 times during the recent years. This opinion was expressed by 71 percent of elderly respondents, 67 percent of youth, and 76 percent of those residing in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Twenty percent of respondents said that Putin reached the peak of his career in politics and was hardly likely to achieve more. Five percent assumed that Putin's influence was decreasing. In 2013, the view of his decreasing influence was shared by 19 percent of respondents.
Two-thirds of the Russian population is ready to vote for Putin if he decides and agrees to participate in the 2018 elections - 73 percent of Russians (in 2013 - 51 percent). Thirteen percent will "rather not support" Putin. Fourteen percent said that they will look at circumstances in 2018 before making their decision.
As for competitors, more than a half (54 percent) of respondents in the country told researchers that they did not see such a person in Russia. "Such a person will not appear in the foreseeable future either," they said. In 2013, this opinion was shared by 48 percent. Eight percent said that "there is a person somewhere, whereas 27 percent said that sooner or later, "the person will appear."
It is worthy of note that two-thirds of Russians told researchers that they consider the Russian Federation a superpower of future or even present times. They associate this "status" with actions of the sitting administration.
If some may say that they do not believe the above-mentioned results, they may take a look at the results of the polls conducted by Levada Center and even "Navalny's sociologists." They, too, stated the tremendous support of the president and his rating exceeding 80 percent.
Moreover, sociologists from different organizations say that Russian citizens characterize "President Vladimir Putin as an intelligent, competent, decisive man," and the number of such people grows every year.
According to opinion polls conducted by various think-tanks, the trust rating of political opponents in Russia is very low. Thus, the rating of Alexei Navalny was virtually indistinguishable from zero. As for old opposition, the Russians traditionally stake on "red," expressing their trust to Communist leader Zyuganov. Liberal leaders, like Prokhorov and Yavlinsky, lose people's trust speedily.
"There is absolutely nothing surprising about it, because this year is indeed very successful for the country and for Putin. There was the Crimea, the Sochi Olympics, and it is absolutely clear that the majority of the population support the president's goals and solutions," the Director of the National Energy Security Fund, Konstantin Simonov, told politonline.ru. He drew attention to a significant fact: "Many Putin's traditional opponents are forced to admit the fact that the population indeed approves of is work. A few years ago, the traditional "liberal" explanation was - "people do not like Putin, results of the polls are fabricated." Now, gritting their teeth, many of Putin's opponents say: "Well, yes, we understand that this is really so," said the expert.
It should be noted that it is not only Russians, who like Putin and his work as president. The rating of Barack Obama has gone down; many Americans believe that he is a liar who takes the country in a wrong direction, etc. The Wall Street Journal conducted a poll, in which highly educated Europeans said "basta" to criticism and sanctions against Russia. Citizen.TV of Britain was surprised to find out that many Europeans believe that the image of Russia had been too much demonized. The Independent conducted a survey, the results of which showed that about 90 percent of its readers considered Vladimir Putin most favorite world leader.