No election polls available out of foreign agent law adoption
Since 2014, such organizations are prohibited from helping candidates, "as well as participate in election campaigns in any other forms."
The largest organizer of public opinion polls in Russia Levada Center refused to publish data during the presidential elections. The head of the organization, Lev Gudkov, noted that the poll results have not been published since the beginning of the campaign in December 2017, but Levada continues to collect data.
According to Gudkov, the publication of surveys threatens the organization with fines, as it is recognized as a foreign agent. Since 2014, such organizations are prohibited from helping candidates, "as well as participate in election campaigns in any other forms."
There is no direct ban on the publication of polls in the law. In 2016, when Levada was recognized a foreign agent, CEC secretary Maya Grishina noted that the organization is only required to comply with the deadlines and rules for publishing polls.
"With All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) our data differed slightly, the discrepancies were in nuances. Although our results have always been lower," Gudkov said.
Levada Center was declared a foreign agent during the 2016 Duma election campaign. The organization was convicted of receiving funds from abroad and publishing interviews, which is recognized as political activity by law. Levada Center did not terminate its work.
According to the latest VTsIOM data, 77% of Russians are ready to take part in the presidential elections. More than 81% of them are going to vote for Vladimir Putin, second place is taken by candidate from the Communist Party Pavel Grudinin (7.6%), leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky gets 4.2%. The fourth place is taken by journalist Ksenia Sobchak with 0.7% of the vote.
The initiative poll was conducted by VTsIOM all over Russia on January 10 by a telephone interview, 3000 people took part in it. Respondents were asked questions: "Will you take part in presidential elections in March 2018?" And "If the presidential election were held on the next Sunday and the list included thesу candidates, then who would be your candidate?" The statistical discrepancy does not exceed 1.8%.