By Paul Goble
Although the percentage of Russians who say they will take part in an eventually vote on Vladimir Putin’s proposed constitutional amendments has risen since February, the share who say they will vote for them is now less than 50 percent and the share declaring they will vote against is almost a third, according to a new Levada Center poll.
Moreover, more than one in every five Russians told pollsters that they found it difficult to say whether they would vote for or against the measure, an indication that absent enormous propaganda efforts, administrative pressure, and outright falsification, the Kremlin may find it difficult to win approval of the amendments that would lengthen Putin’s time in office.
Russians were asked in the April 20 poll “if voting on the amendments to the Constitutions takes place in the coming months, will you take part?” Nineteen percent said no or probably not; 65 percent said yes or probably yes (levada.ru/2020/05/06/obshherossijskoe-golosovanie-po-popravkam-v-konstitutsiyu-2/).
That compares to the results of a similar poll in March, when 27 percent said they would not or probably would not take part, while 54 percent said they would or probably would do so.
In the more recent survey, Russians were also asked whether they would vote for or against the amendments. Forty-seven percent said they would vote for, 31 percent against, and 22 percent said it was difficult for them to answer. A month earlier, those numbers were 40, 34, and 26 percent respectively.
Of those who said they won’t take part or probably want, opponents outnumbered supporters 56 to 18 percent. Of those who said they weren’t sure they would take part, the relationship of the two was closer: 23 percent against and 36 percent for; and among those certain or likely to take part, 58 percent were for the amendments and 25 percent against.