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#1 Study of the Electoral Intentions of the Population of Russia During the Presidential Elections in March 2024

Updated: Feb 12

 

The research agency ExtremeScan conducted a telephone survey of 1000 adult residents based on a representative sample.

Survey method: CATI. Survey period: January 25 – 30, 2024.

Sampling methodology: RDD based on Rossvyaz data, stratified by federal districts and two cities of federal significanceSampling error: 2.44% at a 95% confidence interval

"Do you plan or not plan to vote in the Russian Presidential election this March?"

  • Yes: 85%,

  • No: 10%,

  • Hesitant to answer: 4%.

Of course, research experience in different countries indicates that turnout can be significantly lower than the expressed intention to vote. Therefore, these figures cannot be compared with turnout forecasts or official data. For forecasting purposes, a set of several questions and a long-term observation base are required. Moreover, elections in Russia are subject to two types of "adjustments" based on voting results and turnout.

Our task is to compare the verbal voting readiness across different voter parameters.

For example, among those who support the SVO (Special Military Operation), 92% plan to participate in the elections (Putin's electorate)

Among those who do not support the SVO, 68% (Nadegin's electorate).

If a person answered "Yes," we asked the following question.

"If you participate in the Russian presidential election, for which of the listed candidates will you vote?"

  • 69% of all voters are ready to vote for Putin

  • 6% for Boris Nadezhdin

  • 2% for Nikolai Kharitonov

  • 1% for Leonid Slutsky

  • and less than 1% for other candidates.

In total, about 5% will vote for second-tier candidates.

According to data from all research companies, there is a continuous increase in the demand for peace.

Boris Nadezhdin has positioned himself at the forefront of these aspirations and stands in contrast to all other candidates due to his specific anti-war agenda.

The other candidates, with varying degrees of clarity in their pro-war stance, become minor competitors to Putin; they may support their rating with a portion of the undecided, but they are not competitors to Nadezhdin.

Besides the anti-war agenda, Nadezhdin's principal role lies in attracting the passive and particularly the protest part of the electorate, who would not have participated in the elections if not for him.

In August 2023, 53% of Russians responded that a change of power is harmful and 15% that it is beneficial (31% were undecided); the central part of the electorate will go to the elections to confirm Putin's authority.

Now, let's move on to the analytical part regarding these ratings.

Putin has reached his ceiling, while Nadegin has a significant potential for growth - this is a fact.

Publishing our rating data, we do not aim to predict the voting outcome since we cannot account for the influence of special electoral technologies. Such bias is impossible to measure with survey methods. Moreover, nearly every fifth (19%) of those who expressed their willingness to participate in the voting has yet to decide on their candidate. Traditionally, their votes are distributed in the same proportion as those who indicated their preferences, but this would be incorrect. They are not ready to vote for the incumbent president. First, because this candidate is well-known to everyone, and the assumption that they did not name him simply because Putin is not sufficiently promoted does not seem convincing. Second, as special studies show, the mass consciousness of voters perceives the current elections as "Putin's elections," and an undecided position here means a direct refusal to vote for Putin.

We assume that if all these undecided voters go to the polls, they are unlikely to choose the incumbent president; if they do, it will be for alternative voting. Thus, there is reason to consider the level of support reached by Putin (69% among those intending to participate in the voting) as the maximum.

To speculate on how the votes of these yet undecided voters might be distributed, new measurements are necessary, which ExtremeScan will conduct in the coming weeks. However, some estimates can already be made. Since the critical issue of this campaign is war and peace, it will determine the choice of candidate. Among the supporters of the special operation, 83% vote for Putin, less than one percent for Nadezhdin, and only 14% are undecided in this group, meaning Putin is quite successful in consolidating almost the entire pro-war electorate around himself. 

Among those against the SVO, only 15% support Putin, while 47% support Nadezhdin, with a slightly higher number of undecided at 19%. This group has yet to decide on their choice. Still, it can be assumed that they will support the existing candidates besides Putin approximately in the same proportion that has already formed, for example, about half for Nadezhdin. Apart from these two groups, a group has yet to decide on their stance towards the SVO or refused to express it in interviews. This group usually consists of people distant from politics and not engaged in the active agenda, and they need to be better acquainted with other candidates besides Putin. For this reason, many are still undecided (28-30%%), and it can be assumed that they might increase his support base with sufficient information about Nadegin's candidacy. Assuming those who refuse to support Putin today will not vote for him but will distribute their votes among other candidates, the distribution of votes could be as follows.


Putin has already consolidated support for the SVO, meaning Nadezhdin has a significant task ahead in accumulating non-support.

Putin’s maximum, yet achievable limit, his electoral base, could be comparable to that of the Communist Party candidates in the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 (17-18%%), by the number of votes, not composition, of course.

Putin's rating and the war

  • 82% of those who support the SVO

  • 14% among those who do not support the SVO

Nadezhdin's rating and the war

  • 48% among those who do not support the SVO.

  • 15% among those who would support Putin's decision to withdraw troops.

  • 97% believe money should be spent not on war but on social problems.

  • 90% of Nadezhdin's electorate think soldiers should be brought home and no new mobilization should be conducted.

Electorate structure

  • Half of Putin's audience is over 50 years old.

  • 60% of Nadezhdin's audience is under 40 years old.

  • Putin's rating among 18-29-year-olds is 56%, BN's is 18%.

  • Among those 60+, Putin is at 76%, Nadezhdin at 3%.

  • Putin's electorate structure: 38% men, 62% women

  • For Nadezhdin, the reverse is true: 66% men, 34% women.

  • 60% of Nadegin's audience have higher education, for Putin - 41%.

  • 83% of Nadezhdin's supporters are urban, for Putin - 67%.

Nadezhdin's electorate by financial status

  • 43% experienced a decline in financial status (21% in the entire sample)

  • 16% improved (17% in the sample)

  • 40% unchanged (61% in the sample)

Employment structure of Nadegzhdn's electorate

  • 42% of employees of private companies

  • 21% business owners

  • 13% work at state enterprises

  • 13% are pensioners

Regional features

Boris Nadezhdin's support centres are Moscow, the Northwest, and the Urals. In Moscow, 14%; in the Northwest region, 12%; in the Urals, 9%.

Nationality

Since the support for the special operation as a project for expanding the "Russian world" is widespread, primarily among the Russian ethnic group, and significantly lower among other national groups, Nadegin's support grows in the non-Russian ethnic environment. Among Russians identifying with other ethnicities, 10% are ready to vote for him (among Russians – 5.5%). Recall the most numerous groups of Russians are Tatars, Bashkirs, Chechens, Ukrainians, Avars, and Chuvash.

Thus, the territorial structure of Nadezhdin's electorate can be very unusual. On one hand, there are capitals and megacities, and on the other, national territories.


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