If you use social media apps, like Twitter or Instagram, you’ve likely seen the popular “hash tag” used in the title of this blog. If not, then you’ve still likely heard about some of the problems running up to and during the Sochi Olympics in Russia: anti-gay laws, rounding up stray dogs, dirty water, incomplete hotels and unseasonably warm weather. The high visibility of these issues cannot bode well for Russian President Vladimir Putin as he was hoping the Olympics would give him a much-needed boost in favorability ratings.
Gallup tracked Americans’ opinions on Mr. Putin, and it’s not shocking to find that in a recent survey conducted February 6-9, his unfavorable ratings reached an all-time high amongst Americans (63%). While this could be problematic for his credibility amongst foreign policymakers in the West, it doesn’t seem that American opinion has deterred him from making bold moves on his own (i.e., his intervention with Syria).
another Gallup poll conducted July 8-August 3, 2013 of 2,000 Russian adults showed that Putin’s approval rating sat at a relatively low 54% (after a high of 83% in 2008). The survey shows that Putin’s popularity at home has been consistently waning amidst his controversial transitions between president and prime minister.
See Twitter: SochiProblems
See Bloomberg: Russians Uniting Around Sochi Offer Putin Return on Games
See New York Times: A Triumph for Putin, if Not for the Rest of a Sagging Russia