Election-monitoring reports from both international and domestic election observers often play a key role in post-election politics. The extent to which election observers are trusted or influential thus is of critical importance. However, while there is now a growing body of research on the quality of election observation, less is known about how crucial constituencies within the countries being monitored feel about and react to the verdicts handed down by election monitors.
In this policy memo, I look at attitudes toward election observers using data from an original survey of educated, urban, Internet-using Russian citizens taken two weeks before the presidential elections of March 2012. The data demonstrate a considerable degree of support for the right of observers to participate in elections, but some uncertainty over how much to trust their post-election reports. Moreover, despite support for both domestic and foreign election monitors, there is considerable opposition to allowing foreigners to fund Russian election monitoring organizations. [...]