The majority of Russians say they will go to the polls to vote for Putin in the March 2018 presidential elections, according to a survey published by the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) on Wednesday.
Another polling agency, the independent Levada Center, announced last week that they would not be publishing opinion data about the elections due to fears of getting shut down. Levada was blacklisted as a “foreign agent” in 2016, a label that prohibits organizations from "taking part" in elections.
In the VTsIOM survey, 70 percent of Russians said they would "definitely take part" in the vote, while 11 percent said they would "likely take part.”
A total of 73.2 percent of respondents said they would vote for Putin. Pavel Grudinin from the Communist Party and Vladimir Zhirinovsky from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) came in second with 6.1 percent of respondents each.
The VTsIOM survey suggests that the Kremlin’s plan to secure a 70 percent turnout with 70 percent of the votes for Putin is well on track.
Only 1.2 percent of respondents in the survey said they would vote for former reality TV host Kseniya Sobchak, while all other candidates recorded support of less than 1 percent.
The VTsIOM survey was conducted by telephone between Jan. 11-15 among 5,000 residents and had a margin of error of less than 1.4 percent.