ISEPR Foundation Carried out the Comparative Analysis of the Russian Political Parties’ Electoral Ratings at the Start of the State Duma Elections of 2011 and 2016
On June, 17 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, scheduling a single voting day for September, 18. Thus, he officially launched the 7th State Duma electoral campaign. By June, 28 all parliamentary parties have held their final election conventions. As the big electoral cycle had already begun, ISEPR Foundation experts analyzed the launching sites of the parliamentary opposition this year and compared them with their electoral ratings at the start of 2011 campaign.
Besides, ISEPR Foundation experts compared the key federal bodies’ ratings before the elections of 2011 and 2016, including assessment of Vladimir Putin and United Russia’s credibility.
The ratings of the key government institutions at the start of the State Duma elections campaign
- During the campaign Putin’s credibility rating decreased by 11% (and immediately after the voting day – by 2-4% more; to 44% according to the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) and to 37% according to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM);
- During the campaign United Russia’s rating fell by 14% (and immediately after the voting day – by 2% more, to 34%), however, the decrease between late January and late September did not exceed 7-8%;
- During the campaign Putin’s credibility rating and the rating of United Russia related to each other, but under the influence of the campaign against the party Putin’s rating fell more significantly than that of United Russia (the difference of the ratings of Vladimir Putin and the party at the start of the campaign was “plus 12%” and one month before the single voting day – just “plus 8%”);
- For the first time Vladimir Putin and United Russia’s ratings decreased sharply in February (10 months before the State Duma elections), and the biggest decrease occurred in the last month of the campaign (November – the beginning of the winter doldrums and the agitation blow to United Russia).
- In early 2016 Vladimir Putin’s credibility rating was 14% higher (in case of open-end questions) or 21% higher (in case of close-end questions) than in early 2011;
- In early 2016 United Russia’s rating was the same as in early 2011. However, according to the electoral schedule, at the same period of the campaign, 9 months before the single voting day, United Russia’s rating is 5-7% higher;
- In January United Russia’s rating decreased for the first time, like in February 2011, while Vladimir Putin’s credibility rating in the beginning of the year was generally stable;
- In early 2016 Vladimir Putin’s credibility rating was 30% higher than United Russia’s rating (in case of close-end questions), while in 2011 it was just 12% higher;
- In contrast to 2011, when Vladimir Putin’s rating decreased faster than that of United Russia, in 2016 they decrease at the same pace (“minus 3-4%”), but Putin’s’ credibility rating had a much higher starting point;
- Shortly before the party congress of 2016 United Russia’s rating was 2-4% higher than before the party congress of 2011;
- The graph of United Russia’s rating decrease in 2016 is the same as in 2011 – “minus 5-7%” within the first half of the year. But according to the electoral schedule, shortly before the party congress, it is 2-4% higher than in 2011;
- If the trend of 2011 continues, taking into account the agitation campaign against United Russia in June and August-September, by September, 18 its rating may slide to 40% and this will be 4% higher than before the single voting day in 2011. This will allow United Russia to count on the result of 45-50%;
- Pre-election tidal wave against United Russia can be divided into two phases: 4-5 weeks in June and from late August till September, 18. In 2011 the campaign against United Russia consisted of one long phase of 10 weeks (from September, 24 till December, 4).
The ratings of parliamentary opposition parties at the start of the State Duma elections campaign
- Within the first half of 2011, or during the preliminary campaign, the total rise of the parliamentary opposition parties’ ratings was about 5% (3% according to VCIOM and 7,5% – to FOM);
- During the agitation period the rating of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) remained almost unchanged (“plus 1%”), but on the day of the voting the party became the major beneficiary of swing vote and the vote of its disciplined electorate (the CPRF’s result at the elections reached 19%);
- During the agitation period the ratings of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and A Just Russia rose significantly: from October till November the LDPR – “plus 3%”, A Just Russia doubled the rating (“plus 5%”). The CPRF’s rating during this period rose only by 1%;
- Under the influence of the core phase of the campaign (September-November) the proportion of those who “would prefer to abstain from voting” decreased on average by 5% (to 13% according to FOM and to 11% – to VCIOM). The proportion of swing voters increased by just 2%, despite the “Vote for any party except United Russia” agenda.
- As in 2011, within the first half of the year, or during the preliminary campaign, the total rise of the parliamentary opposition parties’ ratings was about 5%;
- While in 2011 it was the Communist Party that demonstrated the most significant rise of the rating, in 2016 the LDPR is the leader (“plus 3%”), provided that, in contrast to the Communists and A Just Russia, the LDPR do not resort to the abrasive criticism of United Russia;
- In contrast to the uptrend of the preliminary campaign of 2011, in 2016 the rating of the CPRF remains almost unchanged (“plus 1%”). However, unlike the LDPR, the Communists have the most disciplined electorate;
- Unlike 2011, during the preliminary campaign of 2016 the rating of A Just Russia is higher than the threshold (5% and higher). The threat of 2011 summer decrease will depend on the small parties’ performance (in summer 2011 the rating of the party fell because of the promotion of Right Cause Party);
- Shortly before the party congresses the rating of the LDPR and A Just Russia were on average 2% higher and the rating of the CPRF – 2% lower than at the same phase of the campaign of 2011 – before the party congresses in September;
- In 2016 the proportion of swing voters shortly before the party congresses is on average 3% higher than five years ago (in September 2011 there were 12% of them and in 2016 – 9%); the current parliamentary parties are the major beneficiaries;
- In 2011 the proportion of those who would prefer to abstain from the voting was slightly bigger than at the same point of the current campaign (before the party congresses of September 2011 there were 16-18% of them, before the party congresses of June 2016 – 12-16%). But due to the core phase of the agitation campaign the interest in the elections had grown significantly by the single voting day of 2011 (“plus 5%”).