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Many Russians Unhappy With Their National Government

Many Russians Unhappy With Their National Government

by Patricia Guadalupe

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Eleven political parties will seek seats in Russia's parliamentary elections in December, though United Russia, the party in which President Vladimir Putin leads the ticket, is expected to make the strongest showing. While a decisive victory for United Russia might signal support for Putin's quest to seek another influential post after term limits force him from the presidency, a Gallup Poll conducted earlier this year in Russia indicates Russians remain highly skeptical of their government.

When surveyed in April and May, before Putin dissolved the government, Russians appeared mixed on the job performance of their country's leadership: 40% of Russians say they approve of the job performance of the country's leaders and 38% disapprove. When asked to rate the performance of the national government, relatively few Russians offer positive responses. Just 13% say the government is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, a slight majority (54%) rate its performance as "only fair," and about one in four (26%) rate it as "poor." Responding to a different question, 38% of Russians say they have confidence in their national government. Worth noting given Putin's potential attempt to retain power is the finding that just 18% of Russians express confidence in the honesty of elections in the country.

However, the Russian public appears more optimistic about the country's future. Asked to predict the country's overall situation five years from now, 45% of Russians say they expect to stand on one of the top four rungs of the 0-to-10 Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale, with rung "0" being the worst possible situation and rung "10" being the best possible situation. Thirty-seven percent rated their future situations this way when the question was posed in 2006. Asked about the economy, 43% of Russians in 2007 say they think economic conditions in the country are improving, while 27% say they are about the same, and 15% say they are getting worse. In 2006, responses to the same question were slightly less optimistic: 33% said getting better, 35% said about the same, and 22% said getting worse.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews conducted in April-May 2007 and June 2006 in Russia with 2,011 adults each year, aged 15 and older. For results based on each total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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