Is Putin's Popularity Real?

Post-Soviet Affairs, Forthcoming

20 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2015

See all articles by Timothy Frye

Timothy Frye

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Scott Gehlbach

University of Chicago

Kyle L. Marquardt

University of Bergen

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow)

Date Written: November 17, 2015

Abstract

Vladimir Putin has managed to achieve strikingly high public approval ratings throughout his time as president and prime minister of Russia. But is his popularity real, or are respondents lying to pollsters? We conducted a series of list experiments in early 2015 to estimate support for Putin while allowing respondents to maintain ambiguity about whether they personally do so. Our estimates suggest support for Putin of approximately 80 percent, which is within ten percentage points of that implied by direct questioning. We find little evidence that these estimates are positively biased due to the presence of floor effects. In contrast, our analysis of placebo experiments suggests that there may be a small negative bias due to artificial deflation. We conclude that Putin's approval ratings largely reflect the attitudes of Russian citizens.

Keywords: Autocracy, Elections, Public Opinion, Experiments, Preference Falsification

JEL Classification: D72, 052, P26

Suggested Citation

Frye, Timothy and Gehlbach, Scott and Marquardt, Kyle L. and Reuter, Ora John, Is Putin's Popularity Real? (November 17, 2015). Post-Soviet Affairs, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2692049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2692049

Timothy Frye (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

MC3320
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-3646 (Phone)

Scott Gehlbach

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Kyle L. Marquardt

University of Bergen ( email )

Muséplassen 1
N-5008 Bergen, +47 55 58
Norway

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow) ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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