Putin's election rating down 20% since '08: poll
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's election rating has dropped 20 percentage points off its peak in 2008 and stands at 39 percent, although he remains Russia's most popular politician, a poll said Friday.
Released in the run-up to next year's presidential elections, the Levada Centre study also showed those willing to vote for anyone but President Dmitry Medvedev rising, with his own election rating remaining at just 28 percent.
Seen as the more nationalist politician, Putin served as president between 2000 and 2008 and is eligible to stand again after selecting the law-trained Medvedev as his hand-picked successor.
The two have previously vowed not to run against each other and to decide soon who should stand in the March elections.
The poll showed Putin's popularity peaking at 58 percent in August 2008 in the heat of Russia's five-day war against its much smaller neighbour Georgia.
Medvedev's election rating has stayed steady at 28 percent, although the number of those who said they would vote for anyone but the current Kremlin chief rose from 14 percent three years ago to 30 percent this month.
"Both of their ratings are falling. But Putin is traditionally viewed as the stronger politician who is not held responsible for what is happening in the country," said Levada Centre spokeswoman Lyudmila Sergeyeva.
"People tend to blame things on Medvedev while Putin is viewed more as a national leader ... who solves crises," she said.
The respected research centre conducted its poll between August 19-23 and interviewed 1,600 respondents. It gave no margin of error for its findings.
© 2011 AFP