(WP) (Co-authored with Graeme Robertson) By rights, Vladimir Putin should be having the time of his life.
He recently won a resounding reelection to yet another six-year term, a victory that was apparently genuine enough. He’s hosted a massively successful FIFA World Cup. And he’s reduced the U.S. president to a heaving heap of humiliation. Life in politics doesn’t get much better than that.
And yet, according to poll numbers, Putin’s support is falling fast. In a July 8 poll by the Public Opinion Foundation — the polling agency the Kremlin itself uses — only 49 percent of respondents said they would vote for Putin if elections were held Sunday. That’s a drop from 62 percent just a month earlier.
And in a June poll by the independent Levada Center, trusted by most academic researchers, only 46 percent of respondents said they thought the country was headed in the right direction, while 42 percent said they thought things were headed in the wrong direction — a shift from 60 percent and 26 percent, respectively, in April. That’s a 30-point drop in net sentiment in one month. And these aren’t just a couple of rogue polls. The Kremlin-friendly WCIOM polls show the same pessimistic shift. […]
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