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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Analysts Poll Puts President Out Front

A poll of the country's top political analysts released Thursday gave President Boris Yeltsin the advantage in the June 16 presidential election.

Dmitry Olshansky, the director of the Strategic Analysis and Prognosis Center, said Yeltsin has a popularity rating of 8.88 on a scale of 10, while Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov falls slightly behind at 8.76.

If Olshansky's rating differs from most popular surveys -- which have cast Yeltsin in a game of catch-up to the front-running Zyuganov -- it is because of his unique methods.

"This is not a popular survey, but a survey of experts," Olshansky said Thursday, adding that the rating was based on a poll of 50 analysts and used a system of 10 criteria, which include access to the media and administrative and financial resources.

Olshansky did not rule out the possibility that a run-off election between Yeltsin and Zyuganov might eliminate both candidates from the political arena.

According to Russian election laws, if none of the presidential candidates get more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round of elections, then there must be a follow-up election between the two front runners.

The June 16 ballot will be crowded with perhaps as many as 10 to 15 candidates, making it highly unlikely that any one of them would gain the required majority. Most analysts are predicting a contest between Yeltsin and Zyuganov in the second round, tentatively scheduled for July 7.

"There is a large portion of the electorate that does not like either one," Olshansky said. "It is a harsh choice. There is the possibility that a number of people will vote against both of them."

Olshansky said that in the unlikely event that the number of "none the above" votes exceeds the number of votes received by the front-runner, new elections would have to be called. In that event, both Yeltsin and Zyuganov would be barred from the race.

The absence of a suitable candidate is the fault of the president, Olshansky said. "It is the sin of those in power that they have not prepared a new elite to replace them."