Opinion poll gives Medvedev huge lead in presidential race - 2

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An opinion poll has indicated that 69.9% of voters intend to cast their ballot for Kremlin-backed Dmitry Medvedev in Russia's March 2 presidential elections, the state-run VTsIOM pollster said on Monday.
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MOSCOW, February 18 (RIA Novosti) -An opinion poll has indicated that 69.9% of voters intend to cast their ballot for Kremlin-backed Dmitry Medvedev in Russia's March 2 presidential elections, the state-run VTsIOM pollster said on Monday.

Currently a first deputy prime minister, Medvedev was publicly backed by Vladimir Putin as his successor in mid-December, and was later nominated by the ruling United Russia party as a presidential candidate.

Given Putin's popularity, his endorsement of the first deputy premier is likely to guarantee Medvedev the presidency. Putin has also said he will accept the post of prime minister if Medvedev becomes president.

The poll also predicted Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov would come second with 9.1% of the vote, and ultra nationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky third with 7.8%.

The leader of the tiny pro-Western Democratic Party, Andrei Bogdanov, is forecast to receive just 0.9% of the vote.

The poll was conducted on February 9-10 among a sample of 1,600 respondents, with an error margin not exceeding 3.4%.

Exit polls during the March 2 elections will be carried out nationwide by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) and VTsIOM.

An exit poll by FOM will be conducted in a total of 76 regions with a sample of 80,000 respondents. The VTsIOM poll will include 65 regions, with every fifth urban resident voter and every third villager casting his or her ballot to be questioned.

Under Russian law, the mass media is forbidden from reporting the results of exit polls until voting has finished.

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