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Russians Optimistic About Life, Country, Despite Economic Downturn – Poll

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Polling by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the country's oldest polling institute, has found that positive evaluations of the situation in the country, along with people's evaluations of the prospects for their personal lives, are at record highs, despite the economic downturn which has recently hit the country.

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The institute's 'Social Sentiment Indices' are calculated by measuring the percentages of positive and neutral evaluations and subtracting negative assessments.

When asked "How, overall would you assess the current situation in the country?," 66 percent of respondents answered "everything is normal," 16 percent answering "everything is good," and 1 percent "everything is great," compared with 10 percent answering that "everything is bad," and 3 percent that "everything is awful." Taking account of the 4 percent of respondents who found it difficult to answer, the index measured in at +70, compared with a +48 rating in March 2014, and +35 rating in March 2013.

Regarding perceptions of personal life, when respondents were asked "How on the whole would you assess the current situation in your personal life?," 59 percent answered "everything is normal," 26 percent saying "everything is good," and 4 percent saying "everything is great," while 6 percent said "everything is bad," 2 percent said "everything is terrible," and 3 percent finding it difficult to answer. This resulted in a positive index of +81, down from +84 in February, but up significantly from March 2014 (+68) and March 2013 (+65).

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Last month also saw a jump in positive answers to the 'Social Expectations Index' question "In your opinion, are we presently living through the most difficult times economically, are they still ahead of us, or have they already past?," although the overall trend remained negative. Polling found that 41 percent of respondents believed that "the worst is still ahead," while 30 percent answered that "we are living through the worst of it today," and 22 percent that "the worst has already passed." With 7 percent finding it difficult to answer, this left a negative rating of —50, compared with —25 in March 2014 and —33 percent in March 2013.

VTsIOM's polling, conducted between March 28 and 29, involved 1,600 Russians from 132 cities and towns across 46 regions throughout the country. The results have a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

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