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Putin Has 50 Percent Backing Before Kremlin Vote, Poll Shows

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at skravchenko@bloomberg.net

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

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