87 percent of Russians approve of leader Vladimir Putin

A poll conducted by Pew Research Center found 87 percent of Russians said they had a lot or some confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s handling of world affairs.

The poll showed 73 percent of Russians said they approved of Putin’s handling of relations with the U.S. That’s down from 85 percent in 2015 when Barack Obama was president.

Russians’ approval of Putin’s dealings with Ukraine also dropped, from 83 percent to 63 percent.

Putin rated higher in foreign policy issues than domestic issues, with relations with China, the U.S., the E.U. and Ukraine gaining higher approval ratings than domestic issues like energy policy, the economy, civil society and corruption. While approval of Russia’s relationship with China was 78 percent, 49 percent of Russians said they approved of Putin’s handling of corruption.

Despite this, 49 percent of Russians said Russia’s economy was good, while 46 percent said that it was bad.

Rising prices were the top economic concern for Russians — 93 percent said they thought it was either a very big or moderately big problem. Corrupt political leaders came in second, with 89 percent saying it was either a very or moderately big problem.

Additionally, 59 percent of Russians said they viewed the breakup of the Soviet Union as a bad thing for Russia, down from 69 percent in 2015, while 31 percent said it was a good thing.

CBS News noted Putin’s high approval ratings may be due to the Russian government’s strict control over media and Putin owns the main television networks through which many Russians receive their news.

The poll was conducted between February 18 and April 3, 2017, and has a 4-point margin of error. Interviewers conducted face-to-face interviews with 1,002 Russians.