Today we publish two different polls with two different narratives. This one, originally published on the 14th by Kommersant, suggests that Sobyanin, the incumbent mayor, will win easily. This assessment matches the analysis of most experts. However, it may hide the larger headline.
Sergei Sobyanin is Moscow’s current mayor, though he stepped down, triggering a special election and a shortened election season. Sobyanin has then refused to participate in the debates between candidates, where Sobyanin has been the target of all of the other candidates. (See our coverage of the 1st and 2nd debates).
Sobyanin, for his part, has barely left President Putin’s side, attending many public appearances and media events and choking the other candidates out of television time.
Our second poll, published here, shows that Sobyanin is losing ground in the polls, and opposition candidate Alexei Navalny is gaining ground. – Ed.
The elections for mayor of Moscow will take just one round, and Sergei Sobyanin will win if the pre-election situation in the capital doesn’t change in the next three weeks. Such a forecast is being made by sociologists at the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), using surveys of the electoral preferences of Muscovites in the last month which have been unchanged.
If the elections were to take place next Sunday, then Sergei Sobyanin could receive 67.4% of the vote, says Valery Fyodorov, general director of the Public Opinion Research Center, who presented on 14 August the results of a weekly poll which his agency has been conducting for a month.
His next rival is Alexei Navalny, candidate from RPR-PARNAS (Russian Republican Party-Popular Freedom Party) who takes second place with 13% of the votes. Third place goes to Ivan Melnikov, deputy chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russia Federation (6.5%); fourth place to Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of the Yabloko Party (5.4%) and the fifth and sixth are shared between Mikhail Degtyarev, candidate from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and Nikola Levichev, chairman of Just Russia, who received 3.3% each.
Valery Fyodorov emphasized that these are the preferences among those Muscovites who will definitely come to vote and know precisely for whom they will vote. But 25% of Muscovites don’t plan to take part in the elections. And among those who definitely plan to take part, 19% are still undecided for whom they will vote. An addition 1% of Muscovites plan to go to the polls only to tear up their ballots. So these “undetermined 20% will decide what the results of the elections are, and the candidates will fight for their votes,” says Fyodorov.
Red – Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin – 67.4%
Cyan – RPR-PARNAS Alexey Navalny – 13%
Green – Communist Party of Russian Federation Ivan Melnikov 6.5%
Orange – Yabloko Sergei Mitrokhin – 5.4%
Yellow – Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Mikhail Degtyarev 3.3%
Blue – Just Russia Nikolai Levichev 3.3%
Purple – Plan to Tear up Ballot – 1%
25% Muscovites Do Not Plan to Vote in Elections
19% Still Not Decided for Whom They Will Vote
Survey published 14 August 2013
Fyodorov also noted that the electoral preferences of Muscovites have virtually remained unchanged for the whole month that VTsIOM conducted its polls. (The last poll was done 8-10 August; 1,200 Muscovites were polled, with a statistical error of 3.9%). But “there are still three weeks before the elections, and the election campaign is only entering into its active phase,” Fyodorov reminded. Therefore, he cannot yet forecast how the television debates which have begun among the candidates will affect the opinion of the candidates and their election campaigning. The sociologist did not rule out that the mood of Muscovites could be affected by the very date of the elections – 8 September – a few weeks before people will return en masse “from their summer holidays and plunge into everyday life with all of its problems,” he said.
Who Pollsters are Calling the Most Familiar Candidates for Moscow Mayor
Only two candidates for the Moscow mayoral elections have close to absolute familiarity among voters – acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Alexei Navalny. The acting mayor’s recognition factor among candidates is the highest: 66% of Muscovites know Sergei Sobyanin well; 30% have heard something about him; only 4% don’t know him. 27% of Muscovites know Alexei Navalny well; 52% have heard something about him.