Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has hit a two-decade low, new polling from the independent Levada Center showed Wednesday.
Of those surveyed, 59% said they support Mr. Putin, according to the latest poll — down from 63% in March.
Mr. Putin’s approval rating hit an all-time high in 2014 at 84%, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, but was at its lowest in 1999 with a 53% approval rating when he was a young Prime Minister, according to Reuters.
The latest data comes roughly a month after Russia’s constitutional court approved an amendment effectively reset the number of presidential terms served for former presidents, allowing Mr. Putin to reign until 2036. The measure was expected to see a nationwide vote in April, but coronavirus concerns have pushed the vote back to an undisclosed date.
Support for the move rose to 47% last month, up from 40% in March, the poll showed.
The latest drop in the Russian leader’s approval rating is likely to be linked to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has hit the country in recent weeks.
Russia has been grappling with a continuing spike in new cases and a rising death toll.
According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, Russia has reported 165,929 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 1,537 deaths, and 21,327 recoveries. The number of new confirmed cases in the country has risen by over 10,000 a day for the last four days.
Mr. Putin on Wednesday cautioned against lifting lockdown and social distancing restrictions prematurely, which experts have warned could spark a second wave of the virus, but ultimately put the decision in the hands of governors.