Pollsters Rule Out Second Round in Moscow Election

September 3, 2013
Acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. Photo by Dmitry Azarov/Kommersant

Three leading polling agencies – the All Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), and the Levada Center — agree that the elections in Moscow will take place in one round and that Sergei Sobyanin will win them. Furthermore, Sobyanin will win by a significant margin over the number two candidate, Alexei Navalny.

Today, the All Russian Public Opinion Research Center and the Public Opinion Foundation published the latest figures and forecasts from polls before the elections on 8 September for mayor of Moscow. Both agencies predict a victory for independent candidate Sergei Sobyanin. Thus, according to the Public Opinion Foundation’s forecast, with a 45% turnout he will get 60% of the votes. The next rival candidate, Alexei Navalny from the Republican Party of Russia — Popular Freedom Party, may get 20%; Ivan Melnikov, the first deputy chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, may get 8%; Sergei Mitrokhin, chairman of Yabloko will get 4%, and Nikolai Levichev, chairman of Just Russia and Mikhail Degtyarev, the nominee from the Liberal Democracy Party of Russia will get 3% of the votes. Levichev announced today that he will not step down from the elections in favor of another candidate.

Aleksandr Oslon, head of the Public Opinion Foundation did not rule out that the results of the elections could differ from the forecast: “Ahead is a week of vigorous actions; the candidates will try to prove that they are better than all the rest.” In fact, he is confident that significant changes should not be expected and there will be no second round. The forecast is based on an electoral survey by the Public Opinion Foundation from 26-31 August of 1,500 Muscovites (a door-to-door survey with margin of error no greater than 3.2%) Judging from this poll, Sergei Sobyanin has maintained the highest electoral rating (43%); behind him is Alexei Navalny (8%); Ivan Melnikov (3%) and the rest of the candidates whose ratings hover at the 1% level). In addition, another 28% are undecided about whom they will vote for.

As Oslon emphasized, although a certain “decrease in the number of votes for Sergei Sobyanin and an increase in the support of Alexei Navalny” can be observed, the latter is supported many by young people, and in that age group “he has attracted almost the maximum” and his electoral reserve “isn’t exactly exhausted, but a strong dynamic is not expected.” In addition, according to Olson, Sobyanin has also virtually exhausted his electoral reserve. “There are young people who support Navalny more, but they are less inclined to go to the voting booths. But there are middle-aged people who more often give a preference for Sobyanin and more often go to vote,” Oslon noted.

The All Russian Public Opinion Research Center also considers the victory of Sergei Sobyanin to be evident – its experts expect that given a 48.4% turnout, 62.2% of voters will vote for Sobyanin; 15.7% will vote for Navalny; 9.4% for Melnikov; 5% for Mitrokhin and 3.4% each for Levichev and Degtyarev. In forecasting, the Public Opinion Research Center experts also relied on the figures from a survey (a telephone survey conducted on 30 August among 1,2000 Muscovites, with a margin of error of 3.9%). According to this survey, Sobyanin’s electoral rating was 51%; Navalny’s was 11%; Melnikov’s was 6%; Degtyarev’s was 2% and Mitrokhin and Levichev each got 1%. Another 21% were undecided, and7% would either not vote or would tear up their ballot.

One of the problems of the opposition candidates taking place in the elections, judging from the Public Opinion Research Center’s study, was their high anti-rating. If 20% say they will not vote for Sobyanin, 53% say they will not vote for Navalny and Melnikov; 56% says they won’t vote for Mitrokhin; 57% will not vote for Levichev and 59% won’t vote for Degtyarev. According to Valeriya Fyodorova, general director of the Public Opinion Research Center, the Communist Party lost part of its support in these elections because the main opposition candidate was considered Alexei Navalny. And Navalny himself, instead of attracting a moderate electorate “is radicalizing his position,” says Fyodorova. And the additional flow of votes to Sergei Sobyanin is because he is “a manager, carefully distancing himself from politics, saying he is involved in fixing traffic jams and solving problems,” says Oslon.

We will add that according to the figures from the Levada Center which were provided yesterday, 44% of citizens cite “managerial experience” among the chief qualities of a candidate toward whom they oriented in their vote. “Personal qualities” are significant for them (48%). But programs (33%) and the political views (27%) of the contenders for the office of mayor are not so substantive for Muscovites, judging from the poll. This quarterly poll took place 27-30 August among 1,000 Muscovites with a margin of error of 4.8%. It also promises Sergei Sobyanin a victory in the first round.

We will also add that for a victory in the first round, with the calculation of turnout forecast by the Public Opinion Research Center, it will be enough for Sobyanin to get 1.736 million votes out of 7.176 million Moscow voters (incidentally, there were 7.302 million of them back on 1 January), and with a turnout as forecast by the Public Opinion Foundation of 1.614 million voters.

On the day of elections for mayor of Moscow, operators from the video center of the public headquarters for observing the elections will watch the polling stations. As Aleksei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy, head of the headquarters, at these elections for the first time there will be an opportunity to roll back the video quickly and if a violation is confirmed to send a mobile group to the station. The campaign headquarters for acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin promised that Muscovites will learn the results of the elections before midnight.