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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin's Main Rival: Voter Apathy

If President Boris Yeltsin's call for parliamentary elections this fall leads to simultaneous elections for the presidency, the Russian leader's greatest opponent could be voter apathy, an opinion poll released Thursday revealed.


The survey conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation asked 1, 100 Russians for whom they would vote if elections were held now. While Yeltsin emerged as the leading political figure, no politician could claim even 20 percent support among the Russian public.


Though 26 percent of Russians approved of Yeltsin's current rule, only 19 percent said they would vote for him in a new election, the results showed.


Yeltsin's rebel vice president, Alexander Rutskoi, has the approval of 24 percent, but only 12 percent said they would vote to elect him president.


In third place was reformist economist Grigory Yavlinsky, with 7 percent support. Tied for fourth place with 3 percent were former acting Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Sobchak, the mayor of St. Petersburg and a top Yeltsin legal advisor.


No presidential elections are due until June 1996. But many politicians - including Yeltsin and Rutskoi - have already announced their candidacies.


The public, however, appeared to be unprepared for an early vote - 23 percent said they would not take part in elections, and 18 percent were undecided on how they would vote.


The poll indicated that while Rutskoi had fewer supporters than Yeltsin, they were more dedicated than the president's. Sixty percent of poll participants who said they would vote for Rutskoi said they would do so because they believe he is the right man for the job, while 30 percent would give the vice president their vote because they believe no better candidates are available.


By contrast, 40 percent of those who would vote for Yeltsin think he is right for the job; 40 percent simply consider him the best of a bad lot.