- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2014

President Putin’s popularity is on the rise.

Fully 80 percent of Russians see the former KGB agent in a favorable light, while only 18 percent disapprove of his leadership, a new study from the Levada Center shows, Breitbart.com reported.

Conversely, President Obama’s numbers aren’t so solid.

It’s been years since Mr. Putin has seen numbers this high. His constituents last gave him hearty thumbs-up in 2008, on the heels of his won war against Georgia and at a time when the economy was humming, due mostly to oil sales.

The numbers are all the more significant given the reputation of the polling agency, the Levada Center.

“Sure, there are a lot of caveats with polls like this,” said foreign affairs blogger Adam Taylor for The Washington Post. “But Levada is well-respected, and there’s no reason to doubt the core takeaway of the results: Putin’s aggressive, anti-U.S. stance over Crimea is resonating with a lot of ordinary Russians.”

Mr. Obama’s image in the eyes of Americans, meanwhile, continues its lackluster showing. Gallup’s most recent polling for the president’s job approval ratings, taken March 17-23, gives him a 44 percent thumbs-up number. That’s far below what Gallup reports as the average for U.S. presidents, about 53 percent.

Rasmussen Reports, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that a total of 53 percent of Americans disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance — up by two percentage points from a day earlier, and by one percentage point from the day before that.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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