Presidential election: exit poll figures and preliminary results

Judging by exit polls, Dmitri Medvedev has been elected president in the first round of voting. Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov has achieved his objective of beating Vladimir Zhirinovsky to claim second place. Even Andrei Bogdanov stands to benefit from his 2% of the vote.

Judging by exit polls, Dmitri Medvedev has been elected president in the first round of voting: the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) gives him 70.1% of the vote, and the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) reports 67.4%.

Second in the exit polls is Gennadi Zyuganov: 16.8% according to VTsIOM, 19.5% according to FOM. Vladimir Zhirinovsky is third, with 11.4% according to VTsIOM, 10.5% according to FOM. Andrei Bogdanov is last, with 1.7% according to VTsIOM and 1.4% according to FOM.

So it looks like Medvedev has managed to beat Vladimir Putin’s total in 2000, but not the 2004 result. Medvedev’s percentage also looks like being higher than United Russia’s result in the Duma elections of 2007 (64.3%).

Political analyst Alexander Kynev says that Medvedev’s result reinforces his dominant position in relation to all the political parties. United Russia didn’t contribute anything useful to his presidential campaign, so its role will remain purely technical; and Putin’s influence will be maintained for at least a year.

Rostislav Turovsky from the Political Techniques Center warns that Medvedev’s official result may turn out to be higher than exit poll figures: “The administrative machine doesn’t work subtly and precisely everywhere.” Then Medvedev would have solid formal support, says Turovsky, which he could use if he decides to become a real president – the decision-making center.

Analysts say that the outsiders in the presidential race still stand to benefit from it. Bogdanov’s 2% of the vote gives him (and his Civil Force party) a good chance of participating in the formation of a pro-Kremlin right-wing party, says Political Conjuncture Center Mikhail Vinogradov; and Communist Party (CPRF) leader Gennadi Zyuganov seems to have achieved his main objective – a clean second place.

Yevgeny Minchenko, head of the International Institute of Political Evaluation, says that Zyuganov’s performance can be regarded as successful: his share of the vote is higher than CPRF candidate Nikolai Kharitonov got in 2004, so Zyuganov isn’t in any immediate danger of a leadership challenge within his party.

Voter turnout figures have been higher than in the presidential election of 2004. Preliminary figures (as of 7 p.m. Moscow time, March 2) indicate that voter turnout reached 65.07% (compared to 63.97% in 2004). Turnout in the city of Moscow was 58.76% (compared to 57.15% in 2004). Regions in the Southern federal district corrected their results as compared to the parliamentary elections, when their results were excessively high: Chechnya, which reported 99.21% turnout in December, produced a more modest 90.87% this time; still higher than its 89.75% turnout in 2004.