General Director VTsIOM Valery Fedorov — about the turnout in the presidential election, Internet voting and protests
Photo: RIA Novosti/Alexander Natruskin
General Director VTsIOM Valery Fedorov Grushin after sociological conference, told the correspondent of “Izvestia” angelina Galaninoj on citizens ‘ trust in President Vladimir Putin, the online voting, the protest agenda, the unpredictability of sociology and weirdest response to the survey.
— In the presidential administration discussed the possibility of holding the coming 2018 presidential elections on referendum type. How this format fits into the current political system?
— This format represents the situation where there is an obvious leader and no alternative candidates are not able to make it a real competition. When talking about a referendum type vote, it’s not the idea, but simply a statement of fact. The only way to avoid referendum scenario in the next presidential election — Vladimir Putin’s denial from participation in them. Because there is a politician with a rating of 82-84%, while his nearest rival behind by 70% or more.
— Does this mean that the current President enough to announce their participation in the elections, not offering a new path of development?
— From the proposal that Putin will do to society, depends not only on the percent voting for it, but the quality of his victory. To win you need not only by persistent and faithful followers, although they are the most important, but with the confidence of new social groups. It is impossible to rely only on pensioners and state employees, it is necessary to work more actively with youth, intellectual class, with the urban middle class.
— And what in this case will be a bet?
— The main intrigue of the elections is not a set of opposition candidates, and the agenda and the message, with which Putin will go to elections. The image of the future, which he is obliged to present the company for the next six years. This is a very large, long period of time — in itself, and especially now, when the time was dramatically accelerated by the communications revolution. The Internet and social media provide the immediacy with which an event from any corner of the world becomes known. It sets a higher standard for politicians, the faster they “burn” and “wear out”, if you are not able to keep up with the times or even ahead of it. Putin understands this very well.
— Can we expect that aktiviziruyutsya protest movement? Is it possible to “marches of dissent” before the election or after?
— “Marches of dissent”, as with any method, can be super-efficient if used for the first time and the opposite party does not know how to react. While they are a novelty, can attract staunch opponents of the regime and those who are guided by the rule of “all go and I will go.” These formats have been used many times and no “things” today are not. As the next anti-corruption revelations — it’s a complete deja vu. Mechanical repetition does not give effect, it is necessary to look for something new… But the formats have already been tested will still be applied, because “sistemdeki” should earn its own bread — or because the grants will not give another in a “decent place” in Washington and in London to call stop.
— According to opinion polls by VTSIOM, the majority of citizens supports Vladimir Putin. Does this mean that the same number of voters will vote for him in the election?
For the last time of instability in the world has increased, rates have gone up, interested to spoil Putin’s victory, to devalue it today weight. But Putin is not the first day in politics, he has amazing intuition, instinct, he has a huge political capital — people trust him. There are situations, when we conducted a survey where the opinions of respondents were divided approximately 50:50. Then time passed and Putin in his speech on the subject indicates its position. Re-arrange the survey — a significant part of the population moved to the other side of which was occupied by the President.
Putin is very authoritative for people, listen and hear. Not all questions, of course, but many in the first place those relating to the dignity of Russia, its place in the world and relations with other countries. His position here is extremely important and can change public opinion — not by force or pressure, and authority.
— You say that you need to work more actively with young people. How to do it, are there successful examples of the use of the conditional group “under 30 years” in the elections?
— There are such examples. I won’t get into, it is better to generalize: the main thing in them — the agenda is clear and important for young people; the language in which the candidate communicates with it; his sincerity, honesty, rejection of hypocrisy and affectation; lastly, the channels of communication — they are very different from the familiar to the older generation.
But while the Internet voting, and the turnout should be high…
— People came to the polls, they must understand that if you stay home, the country can be major shifts for the worse. The emotion must be strong, true. For example, fear that they will lose the country if the wrong candidate wins. Or hope, hot sympathy for the candidate. There are, of course, a set of technological methods, as the drama of the election, but for any productions you have to see the reality.
— Would not a desire to organize high turnout for active use by regional authorities of an administrative resource?
All in the opposite direction. Who needs a fake victory, which will be easy to challenge? Already passed 2011. For the second time on this rake come no one wants, the more it is not on the Duma elections, and about the much more important presidential. The priority here is not the turnout and the undisputed victory. So that everyone has a clear understanding of: Vladimir Putin won because he is trusted to lead the country the next six years, the vast majority of Russians in all the main social groups, strata, age groups and territories. Therefore, say a lot about openness, about surveillance, which should cover almost 80% of commissions. And the interest is secondary.
— VTSIOM receives government funding. Many appreciate the objectivity of your survey through this prism, assuming that in your case its not so much…
You can always check how truthful our data: we simply need to compare them with what other centers are doing, monitor their numbers, since our don’t like. We’re not a monopoly, we have the industry’s competition, and it works not destructive way, and creative. In addition, there are other mechanisms that can prevent the risk of “moral damage” of survey data. In my memory — and I’m 13 years old in VTsIOM — neither we nor our primary colleagues-competitors such things are not abused.
Most of the suspicions and accusations in our address comes from the aggressive or ignorant — those who did not understand sociology and to understand does not seek, either from a very cynical and biased. they Challenge our figures can not, therefore, trying to deny us all the right to exist. Repeatedly happened that, for example, inform us that the rating of the Communist party fell, and immediately Gennadi Zyuganov: that’s slander, that the center of the Kremlin cannot be trusted. A couple of months, conducting a survey, where it turns out that the citizens against the removal of Lenin’s body from the Mausoleum, and once again Zyuganov: “Look, people, even VTSIOM said that this can not be done”. This behavior has a short memory of the reader, viewer or listener. But we, the professionals, it’s long.
— Since you’re talking about competitors, I would like to know, are you for or against the exclusion of “Levada-center” from the list of foreign agents?
— We believe it is wrong to limit research activities of any Russian sociological centers. And “Levada-the centre” is no exception. We have a lot of disagreements with them — both aesthetic and ethical, and others, but we believe that without them, our industry is highly scanty. Therefore, we together with colleagues from other centres of all the forces, to the extent possible, contribute to the “Levada-center” has remained an important and authoritative source of independent data on the Russians.
— Returning to the sociological research asks whether these data President? Have you had feedback from Vladimir Putin…
Several times we have received direct orders from the President to ascertain the views of Russians on this or that important issue. The last of the sensational — the question of the supply of electricity from Ukraine in Crimea. The task was to find out what Crimeans: do I need to enter into onerous terms of the agreement with Ukraine or not and you can wait up to as long as you don’t build a bridge with the Kuban. Turned out to make such a survey in just a day and a half… It was a serious challenge, challenge. Even many of her colleagues did not believe that was possible, began to look for fleas in our study is small, ugly table we got at the end, the graphics moved out… Well, God will judge them. The poll was conducted, and the results we are not ashamed. All subsequent studies our data collected in superextreme mode, confirmed.
And this is our trademark: information about people’s opinions collected by VTsIOM, is supplied to the customer in a timely manner, remains under wraps and not go in the basket. A major customer for us, of course, the President and his administration.
— And what topics you are interested in administration, for example, now?
— We work every day — and in elections, and without elections. This year moved our main regular survey from a weekly mode to a daily. This, of course, a breakthrough for the Russian research industry: besides us, on a daily basis of representative surveys carried out constantly only American British Gallup and YouGov. And we are legitimately proud.
As for the elections, the main work will unfold in the second half of the year, after September a single day of voting. Then, as the day to vote people, will be an important signal ahead of the presidential election campaign. And before that will be “dead season” — summer. We the people are not so interested in politics that during the holiday season to hear any political messages and to decide against them…
— Are there any figures that recently surprised you personally when the response of the respondents on any public or politically important question?
— 90% of research VTsIOM we do not publish. Research is expensive, and free either for his own account does not hold. Each study is a customer, and he usually carefully monitors the confidentiality of the results. The question is, why did he have to pay for what will become known to all?
But those 10% that we disclose, more than enough to get a full picture of the mood of the Russians. Unreached of the no. Here, for example, is this: according to the opinion poll, a quarter of Russians believe that not the Earth revolves around the Sun and the Sun around the Earth. This social fact, which we installed, and then double-checked again and confirmed I was amazed and continues to amaze until now.
— If to speak in General about the field of sociological research — where it moves, will the need for opinion polls in the coming years?
— Needs surveys will continue to grow, but at the same time increases distrust of them, alas. Moreover, this trend is not only Russian, but also worldwide. For example, almost no one predicted Brexit, although the surveys were conducted regularly. Almost nobody predicted the victory of trump, although in America there has been a huge amount of research.
So now we are at the same time, they want information more, rather, more reliable, and believe this information — less. And this is just one of the challenges that we face. More and more compressed, and its price is increasing. In Soviet times, the phrase “time is money” could not be taken seriously, and today it is the only way. As a result, fewer people answer our questions. So we go from personal interviews to telephone, from telephone to online surveys. There are other challenges, if you can not find the answer, we shall die as an industry. But I think we still will survive. For this we have to become better, smarter, thinner.