Public opinion, parties and voters in the December 1993 elections

Wyman, M., White, S., Miller, B. and Heywood, P. (1995) Public opinion, parties and voters in the December 1993 elections. Europe-Asia Studies, 47(4), pp. 591-614. (doi:10.1080/09668139508412277)

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Until the Gorbachev period, analysis of Soviet election results was of little interest to the political scientist. We knew what the results would be before polling took place. So indeed did the Politburo. To be sure the occasional oddity took place, such as the occasion on which Stalin received more than 100% when voters in neighbouring constituencies insisted on voting instead in the Moscow seat of the great leader himself. Sometimes at local level 'defeats' for individual deputies were staged. However, the pattern of acclamation where the nominated candidates received between 99% and 100% support remained the standard one in all-union ballots. The introduction of multi-candidate elections in the Soviet Union in the perestroika period, and then the multi-party elections of late 1993 in Russia, therefore present a new analytical challenge for scholars of that country. How can we make sense of the observed results, when, as has historically been the case following the collapse of non-democratic regimes, party recognition and still more party identification, remain weak, public opinion is highly volatile, and election results themselves have been subject to considerable political manipulation? To what extent in these circumstances are we able to use the conceptual tools and methodologies such as mass opinion surveys, developed to study other societies, to study Russia? In the first section of this article we argue that Russia is not in fact as different as might be supposed, and that many problems faced by the analyst in Russia are common throughout the world. We then analyse the results of a nationwide survey of over 2100 Russian citizens designed by the authors and conducted by Russian Opinion and Market Research (ROMIR), under the auspices of Gallup UK, in two waves, before and after the December 1993 elections.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:White, Professor Stephen
Authors: Wyman, M., White, S., Miller, B., and Heywood, P.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Europe-Asia Studies
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1465-3427
Published Online:06 November 2007

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