Although international observers have called the Russian election manipulated and a victim of ballet stuffing, the United Russia party, the governing party of the country, has seen a drop of 14% in voter approval. Vladimir Putin who is running in the parliamentary election leads the United Russia party. On Sunday’s election, the communists won by about a 20% lead. The socially democratic Just Russia party took 13% and the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic party followed with 12%.
Although the United Russia party is not likely to collapse in the near future, this is a step back for Putin and his party. If the United Russia party fails to reach a 7% threshold, he will still have around 53% control over the legislature’s seats. Over the last couple of elections, the United Russia party increased their percentage and held 70% of the seats during the last election. This gave them the power to change Russia’s constitution whenever they wanted. However, these days are over.
Putin still holds a 67% approval rating from Russians, but his ratings have been slipping. The highest that he has attained was 87% during December of 2007. This was the month of his last parliamentary election. His disapproval is rising though. It is estimated that about 1 out of 3 Russian disapprove of the way that he runs the government.
This disapproval has sprung over the falling of the oil boom. During the years of 2000-2008, Russian was given disposable income of 10% more than the previous year. Since the global financial crisis, Russia’s economy has suffered. One of the primary concern for Russians is overspending on government pensions and wage boosts for public sector jobs.
Although it is not official, Putin’s win in next March’s election is fairly certain. When he ran before -2000 and 2004- his approval ratings were at 79% and 81%. Even though these approval ratings have slipped for the moment, there is no telling how he will fair against his competitors.