Putin’s personal popularity has improved slightly this year from a low of 64% in January to 68% in July, with 31% disapproving of his actions, according to independent pollster the Levada Center.
The most recent poll was conducted before the violent clashes with police during the Moscow demonstrations on July 27, but the small size of the crowd – estimated at between 3,500 and 10,000 according to official vs unofficial sources – means that while the violence of the police got a lot of international press the event remained small and was largely ignored by the state-controlled media.
In contrast, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev remains in the doghouse, with 64% disapproving of his actions and only 34% thinking he is doing a good job.
Most of the other poll results have remained more or less the same. The approval/disapproval of the Russian government remains stable at 43%/55%, where it has been most of this year. Likewise the approval/disapproval of the Duma was 37%/60% in June.
One of the more surprising results this year has been the growth in the approval of the regional governors, who have seen their approval ratings climb into the 60s. In June the approval of the governors came off its high of 63% set in May to fall back to 61%, but that is still almost on a par with Putin.
The rise in approval of governors is attributable to the greater competition between regions for jobs and investment and the increased attention to local services this has encouraged. The best regions such as Kazan are reporting significant reverse migration, where their former residents are returning to the regions from Moscow, as the quality of life in the regions can be higher even if the pay is lower.
Finally, the number of Russians that think the country is going in the right direction rose above 50% for the first time since May 2018 and is up from a five-year low of 42% set at the very end of last year.
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