MOSCOW, May 6 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating slipped to 59% in April from 63% a month earlier amid the coronavirus crisis, its lowest level in more than two decades, the Levada-Center opinion pollster said on Wednesday.
But Levada cautioned that a change in its polling methodology may have slightly distorted the result to Putin’s disadvantage.
The poll was conducted by phone this time because of the coronavirus-related lockdown, rather than face-to-face, something that Levada’s Deputy Director Denis Volkov said may have clipped 1-2% off Putin’s rating.
Even taking that into account, Volkov said an outcome of 61% would still mean Putin’s approval rating was on a par with its lowest level recorded yet in 2013, a year before Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea prompted his ratings to surge.
Putin, 67, has dominated Russian politics as president or prime minister for more than 20 years, but economic fallout from the coronavirus poses a political challenge for him.
Levada said the poll was conducted on April 24-27 and that a total of 1,608 people were polled across Russia. (Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn)