MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – A majority of Russians do not want Vladimir Putin to run for president again in 2018 when his third term ends, according to a new survey.
A total of 55 percent of Russians want a completely new leader, while 22 percent said they would like Putin to be reelected to the post for another term, a survey by independent pollster Levada Center said.
A survey revealed last year some 17 percent wanted Putin to rule the country until 2024.
Just eight percent of those polled said they would like Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who served as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012, to take up the reins again, the survey said.
Although Putin’s approval rating is still high (64 percent in February, according to a Levada survey), Russian society is tiring of its long-serving leader and there is a strong desire for a new face, regardless of a new president's ideological position, Alexei Grazhdankin, deputy head of the Levada Center, told Vedomosti newspaper.
Putin was the most popular (with 32 percent) among a list of potential candidates who voters would opt for in an election tomorrow, according to a Levada poll in February.
Even among those Russians who supported Putin last year, only 36 percent want him to remain in power for another six years, Grazhdankin said.
A total of 50 percent of respondents believe keeping power in Putin's hands will benefit Russia, according to a March survey. At the same time, every third Russian (the highest figure since March 2004) believes Putins' retention of power will not be good for the country, Grazhdankin said.
The survey was conducted on March 22-25, 2013 among 1,601 people in 130 cities, towns and villages of 45 Russian regions. The statistical margin of error does not exceed 3.4 percent.
(Updated at 2:45 p.m. to clarify that Putin's approval rating is at 64 percent and the Levada poll put at 32 percent the potential vote for him at that time).