President Obama isn’t the only one facing a sharp decline in his approval rating. Recent polls show that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is fond of being photographed without his shirt, is declining in popularity among his people.
Russia’s leading independent pollster, the Levada Center, concluded in a recent report that fervor for the Russian strongman has chilled considerably.
From a peak of 80 percent approval rating in 2008, Mr. Putin’s favorability rating declined to 47 percent in an August survey.
Those with an unfavorable view of the former KGB officer, who has populated his authoritarian administration with former KGB political police, increased to 27 percent from 10 percent during the same period.
Levada stated that Russians consider Mr. Putin “first and foremost representing the interests of the security services, oligarchs, the bureaucracy and the heads of large corporations — figures who in the public mind are at odds with ordinary people.”
No alternatives to Mr. Putin appear to be on the political horizon.
Bill Gertz can be reached at @BillGertz.