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Public Opinion in Russia

In this Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 file photo people walk past a huge Christmas tree installed in Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral,  center, the Kremlin's Spassky Tower, right back, and Lenin Mausoleum, right, in Moscow, Russia. By all accounts, President Vladimir Putin has had a horrible year: Russia s currency has lost more than half its value, the economy is heading toward recession and he has become a pariah in the West. And yet so far, Putin s tough, anti-Western rhetoric and aggressive actions in neighboring Ukraine have helped him weather the storm, with a new Associated Press-NORC Center poll showing that 81 percent of Russians still support their president. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, File)
AP-NORC Center surveyed Russians in 2014, finding support for Putin and optimism on the economy
  • Client
    The Associated Press
  • Dates
    November 2014 - December 2014

In a 2014 poll of the Russian public, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that President Vladimir Putin was extremely popular, and most Russians believed their country was headed in the right direction. Although few Russians said the country’s economy was in good condition, most reported their families’ finances were in fair shape and were optimistic their financial situation would improve. 

Many Russians believed economic sanctions from Europe and the United States were hurting the country’s economy, but fewer than half reported the sanctions were harming their personal finances. Most favored Russia supporting Ukrainian separatists who wanted to break off from the Kyiv government. 

Most Russians said hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics helped the country’s international image, and many expected a similar result from hosting the 2018 World Cup. However, public opinion was divided about the impacts of hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup on the Russian economy. 

To better understand the Russian public’s attitudes toward domestic and international affairs, the AP-NORC Center directed this study, which included a nationally representative in-person survey of 2,008 Russian adults between November 22 and December 7, 2014. The poll was funded by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Among the findings:

  • The Russian people gave Putin an 81 percent approval rating, much higher than the 58 percent rating he received in a 2012 AP poll.
  • Economic woes were top of mind even though few Russians reported a negative impact on their own pocketbooks. Most said sanctions were hurting the Russian economy, though impacts on personal finances were more concentrated among those with higher incomes.
  • Two-thirds of Russians favored efforts to support Ukrainians who wanted to separate from the Kyiv government.

Further poll results are available on the AP-NORC website.

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