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The Kremlin’s lightning-fast flip-flop on Putin’s approval rating: A timeline

Source: Meduza
Mikhail Klimentyev / TASS / Vida Press
May 25

VTsIOM, a state-owned polling agency, published a survey that placed Vladimir Putin’s approval rating at 31.7 percent, the lowest figure since Putin came to power in 2012.

May 30

Journalist: How does the Kremlin explain the drop in Putin’s approval rating?

Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov: There are a many different approval ratings for Vladimir Putin. On one hand, the trust rating [is falling], but on the other hand, we see Putin’s electoral rating, which has shifted into an upward trend now. Of course, we are waiting for our experts to perform some kind of analysis to determine how these data points are correlated — how trust can decline while the electoral rating rises.

Later that same day

Valery Fyodorov, who leads the state-owned polling agency VTsIOM, promised to publish the results of a different survey that includes the close-ended question “Do you trust Vladimir Putin?” where previous surveys had asked an open-ended one: “Which of the following politicians do you trust?”

Fyodorov: I can tell you in advance that the president’s trust rating there is much, much higher, and there is no significant discrepancy between that number and the level of approval for the job the president is doing.

May 31, 2019

VITsOM published the results of the poll Fyodorov described. Putin’s trust rating was indeed significantly higher than open-ended polling had shown.

Later that same day

Journalist: Today, VTsIOM published a new approval rating for Vladimir Putin that relied on a different methodology. Is the Kremlin satisfied with VTsIOM’s clarification and with the president’s new rating? Which evaluation methodology does the Kremlin trust more?

Peskov: The president does not have multiple approval ratings. The president has a single approval rating that is formulated according to how people evaluate the president’s work and the results of that work. And the rest, the methodology of our sociological services, that’s all secondary.

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