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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poll: 64% Disapprove of Duma

Public disapproval of the United Russia-controlled State Duma's performance hit an all-time high of 64 percent this month, according to a survey carried out by the state-controlled VTsIOM polling agency.

"It's the highest since 1995," said VTsIOM spokesman Dmitry Polikanov, referring to when popularity ratings for the Duma were first published.

VTsIOM's survey, published Friday, showed a decline in the Duma's popularity over the past 12 months, with its disapproval rating climbing 15 percentage points from 49 percent in April 2004.

But the number of respondents approving of the Duma's work has stayed virtually the same, rising slightly from 19 percent in April 2004 to 21 percent this month.

The poll of 1,600 people across Russia was carried out from March 5 to 6, and had a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

Polikanov said the Duma's growing unpopularity came largely from people who were undecided about the Duma when it was first elected, but then disapproved of its passing the law on the monetization of benefits. He predicted that the Duma's disapproval rating would likely fall by 1 to 2 percentage points per month, beginning in April.

Polikanov said the Duma's lackluster performance ratings would not make a large dent in United Russia's popularity. "People don't make that strong a connection between the party and the Duma," he said.

But Nikolai Petrov, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said the United Russia-dominated Duma was unlikely to reverse its ratings slide anytime soon. Discontent with the Duma grew after people became aware that the chamber and its leaders were playing no role in decision-making, he said.

The Duma elected in December 2003 is also made up largely of "quite gray" deputies and lacks the showy personalities that its predecessors had, he said.

Petrov predicted that the Duma's dismal ratings could hurt United Russia's chances in the 2007 parliamentary elections, but said the Kremlin might get around the problem by renaming the party.