Kuptsov also complained that the press and the opinion polls are misrepresenting the mood of the electorate. He claimed Zyuganov’s "real rating" is presently 10-12 percent above Yeltsin’s. (Interfax, May 21) Yeltsin’s aide Vyacheslav Volkov countered with the assertion that Zyuganov’s rating is higher than Yeltsin’s in only 15 of Russia’s 89 regions. Volkov said Zyuganov leads the polls in Bryansk, Khabarovsk (where Yeltsin is third and Grigory Yavlinsky is in second place) and Chukotka. In Kurgan, Magadan and "a number of other regions," Volkov said, Zyuganov leads the polls because the government’s failure to ensure payment of wage arrears is creating popular resentment. (Interfax, May 23) Tambov and Novosibirsk Oblasts, which Volkov did not mention, are also considered to be Communist strongholds.
There is widespread concern that opinion polls do present a distorted picture, not only because of political bias, but also because they tend to underestimate the rural vote which, it is generally accepted, will go to Zyuganov. It is far harder to conduct polls in the countryside than in urban areas: in Siberia, many rural settlements are located more than 100 km from a population center of any size.
Yeltsin Ally Urges Other Candidates not to Run.