Putin party set for crushing election win - poll

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MOSCOW, Nov 21 (Reuters) President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party will win an overwhelming majority in a parliamentary election on December. 2 and only one other party will get enough votes to join it, according to a poll today.

Nearly two-thirds of those who plan to vote in the election for the Duma (lower house of parliament) say they will cast their ballot for United Russia, national pollsters VTsIOM said.

United Russia has seen its support increase from 57 to 63.8 per cent since Putin said in early October he would lead the party's list of candidates. VTsIOM's figures suggested the party had overcome a small dip in support seen in early November.

The Communists are the only other political party headed into Sunday week's vote with a definite chance of passing the minimum 7 percent threshold for representation in parliament, VTsIOM said on its Web site (www.wciom.ru).

If these polls hold true through elections next Sunday, Russia's parliament will be shorn of any representatives from liberal parties.

VTsIOM put Communist support at 7.3 per cent, down from 7.7 per cent in a previous poll a week earlier and well below the 12-18 per cent attributed to them by other pollsters.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky's nationalist LDPR had 5.2 per cent of voters polled, down from 6.8 per cent a week ago and well below the 7 per cent minimum, VTsIOM said.

The second pro-Kremlin force, Fair Russia, scored 6.0 per cent support, up from 4.9 per cent a week earlier but still below the threshold. No other party scored more than 1.4 per cent.

Some 11.6 per cent could not say whom they would vote for.

The polling centre said 74 per cent of Russian voters intended to participate in the election on Sunday week.

VTsIOM said its poll was conducted among 1,600 voters in 153 cities and towns across Russia on November. 17-18 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 per cent.


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