Feb 1, 2015
Op-Ed: "How Russia Props Up Putin in the Polls"
Forum Executive Director Christopher Walker and Research Council Member Robert Orttung examined an often-cited statistic that Russian President Vladimir Putin maintains an 80% approval rating in Russian opinion polls, in an opinion editorial published by the Washington Post.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin’s popularity appears to resist the laws of political physics. Despite the price of oil sinking below $50 a barrel and the Russian economy falling into a tailspin, Putin’s approval ratings hover above 80 percent, seemingly defying gravity.
But the numbers should not be taken at face value.
Deeper scrutiny is especially important because the more Putin’s sky-high popularity ratings are mentioned, the more they become accepted wisdom. Western news media and political analysts frequently report on them without providing critically needed context…"