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02.04.2023, . 09:36


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North/Northwest

Political Environment

- This region, which includes St. Petersburg, has only average interest in politics and government (32% interested-66% not interested) but is more dissatisfied with the current situation in the Russian Federation than all other regions. Only 3% are satisfied and 93% are dissatisfied.

- Their reasons for dissatisfaction mirror the national results, but with somewhat greater intensity. 67% mention inflation, 58% crime, 57% standard of living, 39% the situation in Chechnya, 37% chaos/instability, and 27% social and moral decay. All of these scores are higher than the national average.

- According to respondents in this region, the top five problems facing the country are the economic crisis (31%), quality of life (13%) ethnic conflicts (9%), political leadership (8%), and peace (6%). The main reasons they are dissatisfied are inflation (67%), crime (58%), standard of living (57%), Chechnya (39%), general chaos and instability (37%).

- Voters in the North/Northwest are somewhat less pessimistic than the nation, but no more optimistic, about the future political situation in the country. In ail, 19% say the situation will be better, 29% worse, and 36% say it will stay the same. The same situation holds for their view of the economic situation as 22% think things will get better, 33% worse, and 31% think things will stay the same.

- These voters are more likely than the average to say that economic reforms should continue (22%) but 48% say the country should return to a system where the state controls much of the economy.

- Voters in the North/Northwest are less likely than average to say that Russia is a democracy. A bare one-point plurality (45%) say it is while 44% say it is not.

- As in most regions, respondents are evenly divided on whether political power in the country should be centralized (35%) or decentralized (35%).

- Besides Russia herself (32%) voters in this region also look to the United States (14%) as a model for development. Next is Germany (8%) and Sweden (7%).

- Voters in the region have a slightly more western orientation than the nation as a whole. That is, 33% say Russia would benefit from an orientation toward the West, 5% say the East, 20% say both, and 31% neither.

- Of all the regions, the North/Northwest is the most reliant on media organizations or personalities (64%) for information when making voting decisions. 92% say National Channel 1 is useful and 90% call Channel 2 useful. In comparison with the rest of the nation, a high percentage say that local television programs (70%), local radio programs (68%), and discussions with friends and family (77%) are useful while somewhat fewer (66%) say that newspapers are useful sources. Voters in this region say that National Channel 1 (38%) and discussions with friends and family (24%) were the most important in helping them decide how to vote.

Institutions and Officials

- The pessimism toward institutions and officials found in other areas is also prevalent in the North/Northwest. A 57% majority say that official corruption is very common and 29% fairly common. Only 5% say corruption is rare. Also, 59% say that elected officials in Moscow are only interested in helping themselves and only 5% say they are interested in improving our lives. A 54% majority say their elected officials are not capable of making any improvement in their circumstances. However, an above-average 41% of this region's voters believe elected officials can make a difference.

- President Yeltsin's job approval in this region is virtually identical to the nation as a whole. Only 20% approve and 69% disapprove. Similarly, just 16% approve of the State Duma's performance and 56% disapprove. Fewer can rate the Federation Council but the trend there is the same as 15% approve and 38% disapprove.

Attitudes Toward the Electoral System

- The region shares the national skepticism regarding free and fair elections. That is, 52% believe there was at least some fraud in 1993 and 48% say there will be fraud in the 1995 elections.

- Those who believe fraud will occur divide responsibility in similar portions as the national sample. However, they are less likely to name the CEC and more likely than average to name local executive authorities.

12%

Central Election Commission

9%

Executive Branch

7%

Other central authorities

8%

Local election offices

14%

Local executive authorities

5%

Political parties

6%

Local candidate organizations

24%

All of these

- Again on a par with the national average, few voters in this region witnessed any improper or fraudulent voting acts. Just 2% saw poll watchers or local/election officials try to influence votes, and 6% say they felt their ballot wouldn't be kept secret. Group voting, however, has a high score (23%) - second only to the North Caucasus (31%). Only one person reports seeing material or financial incentives being offered to voters.

- Knowledge about the Central Election Commission is similar to the rest of the nation. Only 7% have read or heard a fair amount or more and 50% have heard nothing at all.

- Support for the computerization of elections is strong as 75% are in favor (59% quite a lot) and only 9% are opposed.

- Voters in this region are significantly more likely to favor allowing candidates for the State Duma (35%), the Federation Council (35%) and the Presidency (30%) to receive private contributions. However, they are also more likely (71%) to say that a ceiling should be established for such contributions. Further, 70% support a minimum voting threshold for validating elections.

- The North/Northwest is one of three regions (with the Urals and East Siberia) that are more likely to want to increase the number of Duma representatives who are elected from party lists. In all, 29% want more representatives elected from party lists, 7% want more from single mandate constituencies, 27% would like the system to stay the same and 35% don't know.

- A 61% majority say the Federation Council should be directly elected, 7% call for indirect elections, and 6% think members should be appointed by the President.

Voting Patterns

- Projected turnout for the Duma elections in the North/Northwest is comparable to the national average. Overall, 75% say they will vote and 18% will not. The percentage of those saying they are certain to vote is 39%. Among those age 17-35, 30% are likely voters.

- Planned turnout for the presidential elections is also high at 77%. Again, however, somewhat fewer (42%) are certain to vote in comparison with the national average of 46%.

- The North/Northwest has the highest percentage of people who believe that by voting, people can actually change something in the life of our country (65%). Only 30% say this is not possible.

- The following table rank orders the results of the Presidential ballot test in the region.

TOP 10 PLACES

Yavlinsky

15%

Lebed

12%

Chernomyrdin

11%

Yeltsin

10%

Zhirinovsky

7%

Solzhenitsyn

6%

Gaidar

5%

Zyuganov

4%

Kozyrev

3%

Rutskoi

3%

Don't Know

18%

Political Parties

- Of all the regions, the North/Northwest is the most likely to say that political parties are necessary to Russian democracy (78%). Only 8% say they are not necessary. A majority (57%) express a strong belief that parties are necessary.

Voters in the region are also the least likely to say that one party is the ideal (10%) and the most likely to call for several parties (54%).

However, they are split on whether there are clear differences between the parties (39% yes - 39% no) and the membership percentage (3%) is among the lowest in the land. In fact, the cell is too small for further analysis. Further, only 21% are more likely to vote for a candidate who is affiliated with a political party, 24% are more likely to vote for an unaffiliated candidate, and 42% say it makes no difference.

On the other hand, a 69% majority - again leading the nation - say that political parties speak to the issues that concern the Russian electorate.

- In the Duma ballot, the results are as follows:

Yabloko

13%

Communist Party

10%

Women of Russia

9%

Russia's Democratic Choice

9%

LDPR

4%

Agrarian Party

4%

Party of Economic Freedom

2%

Our Home Russia

2%

Democratic Party of Russia

1%

Party of Unity and Accord

1%

None

23%

Don't Know

18%

Voter Education

Like the rest of the country, voter education efforts are needed in this region. Although the North/Northwest has the highest percentage in the country (56%) saying they received enough information from election officials that they understood the election process:

- Only 2% have a great deal of information about the Democratic process, 13% have a fair amount, 50% have not very much, and 28% have none at all. This last score is 6% higher than the national average.

- 77% agree (56% strongly) that they don't have enough information with regard to their rights with regard to the authorities.

- Just 36% say they received enough information about the candidates or parties to make a good choice in the 1993 Parliamentary elections and 46% did not.

- 15% are very or somewhat familiar with their voting rights.

- 26% didn't have enough information on how to check the voter registry and 29% had too little information on means of alternative voting.

- Misunderstandings about voting rights include the following: 35% believe a family member can vote on your behalf by presenting your passport; 29% think that those who do not speak Russian may not vote; 37% say that those who don't currently reside in Russia may not vote; 47% think those serving time in prison may vote, and 16% think it is not necessary to be inside the ballot booth when voting.

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