Putin's Potemkin Popularity: Op-Ed by Christopher Walker & Robert Orttung

Feb 1, 2015

Op-Ed: "How Russia Props Up Putin in the Polls"

Forum News

How Russia Props up Putin in the Polls

Photo credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

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…"

Related Content

Read "Russia’s Media Autarky Strengthens Its Grip," by Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung in Real Clear World. ::MORE

Read "Breaking the News: The Role of State Run Media," published by Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung in the Journal of Democracy January 2014 issue. ::MORE