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Sobyanin Would Beat Navalny If Election Today, Poll Says

A large banner reading “Navalny, Change Russia, Start with Moscow.” Evgeny Feldman

Acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would decisively win the mayoral race if the voting took place this Sunday, a poll of Moscow residents conducted by the VTsIOM research center has found.

Sobyanin would win the votes of 54 percent of the poll's participants, while his main opponent, opposition activist Alexei Navalny, would come in a distant second with 9 percent of the votes.

Sobyanin's rating among the Muscovites has remained constant since the previous poll, while the popularity of his main opponent has grown by one point.

The poll also tracked Navalny's name recognition. Eighty percent of respondents said they know now who Navalny is, compared with 71 percent at the beginning of the month.

The survey shows, however, that Navalny's recently acquired publicity may be working against him, as the share of those who feel mistrustful about him has increased from 33 to 39 percent. The number of respondents who feel positive about Navalny has increased from 14 to 17 percent and a plurality of Muscovites surveyed did not express either positive or negative feelings about the opposition mayoral candidate.

In the ten days since the last poll the Communist candidate Ivan Melnikov, with 4 percent, has risen to third place and passed Yabloko's leader Sergei Mitrokhin, who fell by one point to two percent and fourth place.

Ninety-four percent of the respondents were aware that the election would be held on Sept. 8. The number of those who said they were prepared to actually cast their ballots on that day rose by five points to 49 percent.

The 1,200 respondent poll was taken last weekend and carried a 3.9 percent margin of error.

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