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Putin’s Approval Rating Drops to Record Low of 44%, Survey Shows

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s approval rating fell the lowest level in at least eight years after his party’s setback in Dec. 4 elections, which was marred by complaints of vote-rigging, an opinion poll showed.

The premier’s support dipped to 44 percent, from 46 percent two weeks earlier, the Public Opinion Foundation said in a report published on its website today, citing its Dec. 10-11 survey of 3,000 people. No margin of error was given.

The poll was conducted on the weekend that saw tens of thousands of people protest against vote fraud, the largest demonstrations against Putin since he came to power. The 59- year-old prime minister, who plans to return to the Kremlin next year by swapping jobs with President Dmitry Medvedev, yesterday denied that the elections were rigged and accused his opponents of paying people to protest and getting financing from foreign governments.

Putin would get 42 percent if a presidential election were held this weekend, the state-run All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, or VTsIOM, said today, citing a survey conducted among 1,600 people on Dec. 10-11 with a 3.4 percentage-point margin of error.

Medvedev replaced Putin in 2008 after the premier served the constitutional limit of two consecutive presidential terms from 2000. Putin, who will run in March 4 elections, could be president for another 12 years, making him the longest-serving Russian leader since Josef Stalin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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