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The Real Russia, Today
State pollsters took care of Putin's falling numbers single-handedly — by changing their questions
1:51 pm, May 31, 2019
VTsIOM, a fully state-owned Russian polling agency, changed the methodology behind its presidential approval rating surveys after Vladimir Putin’s approval numbers fell to their lowest point in history. Both versions of the poll measure approval in terms of “trust,” but formerly, the agency’s employees asked respondents an open-ended question: “Which of the following politicians do you trust?” In its most recent poll, VTsIOM
multiple close-ended questions instead, requesting that each respondent offer an opinion on each politician listed in turn. The change enabled the agency to ask respondents directly, “Do you trust Vladimir Putin?” The president’s ratings under the old and new methodologies are radically different.