the second most popular presidential candidate after Vladimir Putin is Vladislav Davankov

the second most popular presidential candidate after Vladimir Putin is Vladislav Davankov

In the last two weeks before the presidential election, the main struggle is no longer even for second, but for third place, as follows from a fresh poll by VTsIOM. If the elections were held next Sunday, then Vladimir Putin would win a landslide victory, and the candidate from the “New People” Vladislav Davankov would become second. Nikolai Kharitonov (KPRF) can claim third place, and LDPR leader Leonid Slutsky closes the list. Experts explain the problems of the “old” opposition parties by the flow of the electorate to “candidate No. 1.”

All-Russian initiative telephone survey was carried out March 2–3 among 1.6 thousand Russians over 18 years old. The maximum error, according to VTsIOM, does not exceed 2.5%.

Sociologists did not record any sensational changes two weeks before the vote. Except that the share of respondents who correctly answered the question about the election date increased from 81% in early February to 87%, and the declared turnout reached 80% (versus 76% in February). Incumbent President Vladimir Putin is still in the lead: 75% of those who are “definitely” or “most likely” to take part in the elections are ready to vote for him. That figure has remained largely unchanged over the past month, save for a jump to 79% in the Feb. 15 survey.

But it seems that the levels of support for the other three candidates have finally been determined. Thus, Vladislav Davankov feels more and more confident in second place: if in mid-February he shared it with Nikolai Kharitonov (both scored 4%), then in the last two weeks the rating of the candidate “New People” has remained at the level of 6%, and Kharitonov Currently, 4% of voters are ready to cast their votes. Leonid Slutsky's rating during the last two measurements remains within 3%.

However, not all parties participating in the campaign agree with this situation. For example, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Sergei Obukhov told Kommersant that according to the Communist Party’s own measurements, Nikolai Kharitonov “undoubtedly” occupies second place. At the same time, it is no coincidence that ratings from VTsIOM show only the percentage of those who intend to vote - this is already a derivative of the total array of responses, and such data is secondary, the communist assures. At the same time, he notes the lack of growth in the president’s rating.

The ratings only show that all opposition nominees have a chance to take silver, says Stanislav Naumov, deputy leader of the LDPR faction in the State Duma.

In fact, starting from the second position, the gap between the candidates is within the statistical error, and in real elections, not so much all-Russian ratings will be more important as mobilization in regions important for candidates, the deputy argues: “We, for example, are confident in a good result in Far East. We also believe that for the first time we will be able to achieve high results in the North Caucasus.” According to him, the LDPR sets itself the task of exceeding the 2021 result in the State Duma elections and gaining more than 5 million votes. “And if this task is completed, we have every right to count on second place,” summarizes Mr. Naumov.

Political scientist Evgeny Minchenko considers Vladislav Davankov’s second place a completely “logical trend,” since both the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Liberal Democratic Party have a fairly strong electoral overlap with Vladimir Putin.

But the candidate of the “New People” performs a very useful function: it increases turnout without taking away votes from the main candidate.

In addition, it is also stylistically very different from its closest rivals, which demonstrate the style of the times of “late stagnation,” the expert believes. And if no “black swan” happens, then the most realistic scenario looks like one in which Mr. Davankov takes second place, and candidates Kharitonov and Slutsky will have to compete for third.

The flow of the electorate to “candidate No. 1” is a problem for both Nikolai Kharitonov and Leonid Slutsky, and this began long before the elections, confirms political scientist Alexei Makarkin. He notes that citizens take presidential elections very seriously: there is little pure protest voting and self-expression - people literally vote for their future. Therefore, the erosion process has even affected the ideological core of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, with which nothing happened for a very long time, the expert argues: for the electorate of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the current situation is again “get up, the country is huge,” and Vladimir Putin is the supreme commander in chief. The flow of the electorate from the LDPR was observed even under Vladimir Zhirinovsky with all his charisma, and now it has intensified in connection with the Northern Military District and the figure of Leonid Slutsky, who is still often confused with the football coach with the same name, Mr. Makarkin points out. Well, the problem of Vladislav Davankov is that he has a very new and very demanding electorate - therefore, for example, in the elections for the mayor of Moscow, this politician did not demonstrate much success, the political scientist recalls (Mr. Davankov took fourth place out of five candidates with a result of 5, 34% of votes).

Anastasia Kornya, Andrey Vinokurov

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