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Putin Has 50 Percent Backing Before Kremlin Vote, Poll Shows

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s support remained at 50 percent for a second week, suggesting he’ll win March 4 elections in the first round of voting, according to the Public Opinion Foundation.

“I don’t expect any serious changes to these numbers,” Grigory Kertman, a senior analyst at the foundation, which is also known as FOM, said today by phone. Putin needs more than 50 percent backing to avoid a second round of balloting.

A runoff would pit the premier against the second-placed candidate, currently Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov with 9 percent, according to FOM. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party, is next with 6 percent, followed by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov with 5 percent and the Just Russia party’s Sergei Mironov with 3 percent. The pollster surveyed 3,000 likely voters Feb. 18-19. It didn’t give a margin of error.

A separate poll published Feb. 17 by the state-run All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, known as VTsIOM, put Putin’s support at 55 percent. Putin will win with 58.6 percent of the vote, VTsIOM predicted yesterday.

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