Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 153

With the Duma elections just four days away, sociological surveys throughout the Russian Federation are reporting their findings on regional voting intentions. These apparently tend to show a pattern of preference for four main parties — the Communists, "Russia is Our Home", Yabloko, and "Women of Russia" — with the Liberal Democrats headed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky also putting in a respectable showing in many provincial centers. Polling organizations in Moscow and St. Petersburg say that the two cities will vote quite differently from their respective suburbs. Muscovites reportedly prefer "Russia is Our Home" and Yabloko to the Communist Party by a wide margin. Beyond the city limits, however the opposite situation prevails, with the Communists in the number one position. Similarly, Yabloko, which is said to be most popular among St. Petersburg city residents, cedes first place to the Communists in the suburbs. (10)

Demographic factors are likely to substantially affect the election results. One analysis has found that about 55 percent of Communist Party supporters are pensioners, mainly women, while just 3 percent are under the age of 25; that Zhirinovsky’s party draws electoral strength from a primarily young and provincial population with below-average education; that the reformist Yabloko and Russia’s Democratic Choice are preferred by male professionals in the large cities; and that females under the age of 40 tend to gravitate toward "Women of Russia." But the protest vote against the status quo may come primarily from the pro-Communist demographic base. In surveys, the older the respondent, the more likely he or she is to express a positive determination to go to the polling station on December 14. (11)

Chechnya Roundup.