Lovely Levada

As long time readers probably know, I’m a bit of a sucker for statistics, and I’ve recently found a site that I’ll no doubt be sucking dry from now on. Levada Center is Russia’s foremost polling company (equivalent to America’s Gallup), and releases a poll or two every workday. However, unfortunately their English language version is quite limited, so I’ll be using the Russian. I present…

Putin’s Presidency in Polls

1. What impression do you have of Putin? (favorable, unfavorable, don’t know) As is well known, Putin is one of the very few world leaders in history to have retained his popularity throughout his entire two terms, which is reflected in assessments of his achievements. SOURCE

2. In your opinion, is Russia moving in the right direction? (agree, disagree) SOURCE

3. Have you and your family adapted to the changes in Russia over the past 10 years? (yes, will soon, never) SOURCE

4. Are you confident about tomorrow? (yes, no) SOURCE

5. Are you on the whole satisfied with what is happening in Russia? (satisfied, not satisfied) While the majority has remained unsatisfied throughout most of Putin’s Presidency, since mid-2006 there does seem to have occured a tipping point in national morale (as also reflected in 4., 6., and 7.). SOURCE

6. Are you satisfied with the government’s handling of the economy? (satisfied, not satisfied) SOURCE

7. How satisfied are you with the situation on morals and respect in in society? (satisfied, not satisfied) It seems that very few Russians are satisfied on this point, which is not surprising given, say, crime rates – the homicide rate even today is around three times greater than in the US (6 to 18 / 100,000). Nonetheless, as with homicides, there seems to be a reversal of this trend. SOURCE

8. Dynamics of family subjective material wellbeing for the last year (index compiled as difference between positive and negative marks plus 100) This is quite strange – although the dynamics are understandable (there was a financial crisis in 1998), the fact that more people keep saying they get poorer than get richer is harder to explain, considering that average real wages have increased by a factor of 2.6 in 2000-2007 and that fewer people consider themselves to be poor today as compared to seven years prior (see 10.). SOURCE

9. Will your life improve in the next 6 months? (better, same, worse) Illustrates continued apathy and pessimism in Russians’ lives. SOURCE

10. Subjective perceptions of poverty in Russia (% of population; poor, very poor) Note that generally speaking people compare themselves to their neighbors in defining poverty. Since 2000, poverty defined as earning less than the minimum subsistence level has more than halved. SOURCE

11. National Mood Index (Jan 1998 = 100%) (average of several measures of personal wellbeing and national prospects in economics, politics and society) Are we seeing a second upwards tipping point? Time will tell. SOURCE

12. Index of Trust in the Presidency, Index of Economic Optimism, Index of National Wellbeing. SOURCE

13. Russia-US relations index (difference between positive and negative perceptions) With the exception of two downwards spikes coinciding with anti-Serbia and anti-Iraq aggression, Russians have been positive towards the US. Nonetheless, there has been a generalized and significant downwards slope since 2000, reflecting deteriorating US-Russian relations. Prepare for a third spike if, however unlikely, Ukraine and Georgia get a MAP during the current NATO summit. SOURCE

14. Russia-EU relations index (difference between positive and negative perceptions) Russias view the EU much more favorably than the US, although there has been a gentle downwards slope (the New Cold War and deranged Russophobic neocons are not limited to Yankee shores). SOURCE

  • Fedia Kriukov

    There is another poll you should look at and analyze. A new world-wide poll came out on the positive/negative image of various countries (you’ve probably heard about it). Russia improved its positions compared to last year.The question that should be answered is, how come, despite the fact that shrill anti-Russian propaganda in western media achieved new unprecedented levels last year, Russia’s image not only did not suffer, but in fact markedly improved? It is a mystery to me right now. Unless country by country breakdown would hold some clues.Also, for Levada polls in English, see http://www.russiavotes.org/

  • poemless

    Fedia,The same poll also shows that global opinion of the US has improved (though less so than that of Russia). I don’t know what America has done to improve its popularity. I was going to theorize that the elections and impending change in leadership (in both countries) may have some degree of influence on public optimism. But it appears the poll was taken last Nov.-Jan. 2008. Back when the media noise machine was assuring us Putin would remain a nasty dictator for life and before Obama-mania swept my nation. So, maybe I should chuck that explanation. Perhaps people just have outrage fatigue. Or maybe it was Time Magazine. 😉 On a serious note, unprecedented levels of anti-Russian propaganda in western media also means unprecedented levels of any coverage at all of Russia in the western media. Perhaps with so much coverage, some truth was bound to slip through. The images and actual situation never seem to live up to the negative spin and doomsday Cold War pt.2 scenarios the media constantly churns out. Here’s a link to the report.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7324337.stm

  • stalker

    Interesting poll, thanks for pointing it out fedia and poemless. I’ll probably give it a mention in the next editorial.What I find interesting is that Britannia, Land of Loco Lucas, has the most positive opinion of Russia amongst the general public.

  • Oleg Nevestin

    stalker, you admit to be puzzled by chart #8. But why? The whole thing ends at September 2005, which is more or less exact time when Russia really started its take-off(as indicated by charts preceding it). The dramatic improvement of the last 2,5 years is simply not reflected in this graph.

  • Oleg Nevestin

    stalker, most Brits are reasonably smart people. But they also happen to live in a police state with cameras everywhere, draconian laws, horribly disfigured economy and undemocratic political structures – so the hypocricy of western Putin-bashing is most evident there. Add to that what is probably the most twisted media in the world, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a budding civic revolt. Hence public is sceptical of Putin tales propagated by British officialdom. Soviet propaganda also lost its potency in USSR’s last years.

  • Fedia Kriukov

    Just a thought: maybe Russia’s improving image is related to increased number of articles talking about the booming Russian economy? People pay attention to what matters to them. If Russia stops being perceived as a poor country, image will naturally improve. As for allegations about “democracy” or “human rights”, I think such coverage is widely recognized as hypocritical, or even disingenous, these days.

  • stalker

    @Oleg,stalker, you admit to be puzzled by chart #8. But why? The whole thing ends at September 2005, which is more or less exact time when Russia really started its take-off(as indicated by charts preceding it). The dramatic improvement of the last 2,5 years is simply not reflected in this graph.I’ll explain. This chart is calculated as positive answer % minus the negative answer % + 100. This means that for equilibrium (i.e. stagnant reported material welllbeing to occur), you need to get a score of 100. This means that throughout the whole period – from 1999 to 2005 – the number of people who said their material wellbeing in the last year had deteriorated exceeded the number of people who said it had improved. Considering that wage growth was even then very robust, the discrepancy is quite puzzling.Add to that what is probably the most twisted media in the world, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a budding civic revolt. Hence public is sceptical of Putin tales propagated by British officialdom.I suppose you have a point – readers’ comments in papers like the Guardian or Times tend to be surprisingly sane/skeptical. On the other hand, this is a general poll, and Britons who take the time to comment on online versions of the papers are unlikely to be a representative sample of the population, a large part of which reads tabloid tripe like the Daily Mail or Sun.Though to be fair, from what I’ve seen of French newspapers, if anything they are even more venomous towards Putin/Russia than British. Perhaps picture in the rest of Europe is similar.@fedia,Just a thought: maybe Russia’s improving image is related to increased number of articles talking about the booming Russian economy? People pay attention to what matters to them. If Russia stops being perceived as a poor country, image will naturally improve. As for allegations about “democracy” or “human rights”, I think such coverage is widely recognized as hypocritical, or even disingenous, these days.Though it should be noted that most articles about Russia’s “surging economy” do tend to place super-exaggerated emphasis on oil prices.But a very good point nonetheless. Apparently, in the 1950-70’s Italian immigrants to Germany, Britain, and Spanish up until the 80’s, were held in smug contempt because of their homelands’ economic backwardness, but that ceased once they had caught up. Perhaps there’ll be a similar shift of perceptions by the 2020’s with respect to Russians.

  • Oleg Nevestin

    stalker, French are undisputed world record holders in consumption of antidepressants and hate everybody, including themselves (though in a most blatant example of national schizophrenia they are also full of themselves, which makes them similar to Americans – maybe that’s why they can’t stand each other). A nation that elected shifty egomaniacal freak like Sarkozy as its standard-bearer should be excused, then dismissed. French media influences nobody, except French themselves. Russians who read it have way too much time on their hands.

  • Anonymous

    Stalker, Oleg, Fedia:The torrent of negative media about Russia has 2 root causes:1. A reaction from the political/media elite to the rapidly shifting balance of power. As I have pointed out before the strategic capabilities(Resources, Geography, culture) of a resurgent and fully mobilized Russia DWARF those of the West. For example: one of the most odious and sinister Russia Critics is Anders Aslund. He is the same Aslund responsible for the forced privatization in the early 90’s which led to the deaths of up to 20 million people and misery for many more. He is also a neocon PNAC signatory. PNAC calls for keeping Russia week and preferably dismembered.2. A resurgent and powerful Russia is percieved as a threat to a “Greater” expansive Israel. Therefore you have a campaign waged by Zionist media elements to provoke hostilities towards Russia.DJP

  • Oleg Nevestin

    DJP, right on, man. All these Ass-Loons, McFauls, Applebaums, Gluksmans and other Russophobic scum must be having the worst time of their miserly lives these days. Russia’s GDP is rising by $1,5 billion every business day, which makes for a perfect “russophobic hell”, particularly as the US and the EU are starting to buckle and roll over straight into an economic ditch. I say Russia should devote its absolute attention to its economy, and let its own success kill every Russophobe through inevitable stomach ulcers, insanity and loss of a gainful employment.

  • Anonymous
  • Fedia Kriukov

    Speaking of which, Russian police brutality. Shocking video of a Moscow cop violating human rights of some ethnic Georgians: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFQoyEr6-fU

  • stalker

    Why is everyone deleting their posts?

  • Oleg Nevestin

    stalker, I did. I tried to highlight an article in Seattle Times about baby-boom in Russia. But it didn’t allow me to post a full link, only a part of it. So without a link it didn’t make any sense to leave it there. Sorry for 3 times. Thought something was wrong with my computer. Know better now.

  • Fedia Kriukov

    Here’s how you post links using the tag: for example, look at this article about Russia’s baby boom.Also, if the link is too long, you can always shorten it using a redirect service, like this: http://tinyurl.com/6fba7f

  • Oleg Nevestin

    fedia, thanks, appreciate that.

  • Anonymous

    What happened between 03 and 05 that caused his approval rating to drop?

  • Fedia Kriukov

    Comment on #8, which also puzzled me.Rosstat now publishes a similar index which shows pretty much the same values. However, the index is formed by asking respondents to evaluate their current financial situation, not its change over some period.So in this case I believe Levada’s chart is simply mislabeled. What it actually shows is the trend in the difference between people evaluating their financial situation positively vs. people evaluating their financial situation negatively.