Over half of Russians polled by the independent Levada Center said they would like Vladimir Putin to stay on as president after 2024.
Putin, whose approval ratings regularly exceed 80 percent, has said he plans to step down at the end of his fourth six-year term. He served two back-to-back terms as president ending in 2008, at which point he relinquished his post for a prime ministerial stint, before returning as president in 2012. He is now serving his fourth term.
Levada’s poll found that 51 percent of surveyed Russians want to see Putin retain his post after 2024, while 27 percent expressed the opposite view, the Vedemosti business daily reported Tuesday.
“There are no successors shaping up, people are treating this pragmatically,” Levada head Lev Gudkov told Vedemosti.
The poll was conducted among 1,600 respondents in 52 Russian regions on May 24 to 30.
An earlier poll, in August 2017, showed over two-thirds of respondents saying they want to see Putin as president after 2018, while only one-third expressed that wish in October 2012.
Gudkov contends that while patriotic support waned in the wake of tension created by the 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, Western sanctions and geopolitical tensions are keeping Putin's ratings high.
“Politicians are viewed with caution by those who fear change. Since Putin is perceived as a conservative, it is believed that he will ensure the status quo,” said Gudkov.
Some Russian media also say the recent pension reform proposals could hurt Putin’s public support. Several petitions have been launched opposing the suggested raise in Russians' retirement age.