Poll ratings of Russia's Putin, Medvedev tumble
MOSCOW, Nov 2 (Reuters) - The approval ratings of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had their sharpest fall since Putin stepped down as Kremlin chief in May 2008, according to a poll by the Public Opinion Foundation.
Medvedev appointed Putin as prime minister after his election as president last year and the pair, dubbed the "tandem" by the media, has enjoyed consistently high ratings despite a sharp deterioration in the economy.
Public trust in the work of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin each fell six percentage points on Oct. 24-25 from a week earlier, the poll said.
Fifty-six percent of 2, 000 people polled said Medvedev held their trust, down from 62 percent a week earlier. Sixty-six percent trusted Putin, down from 72 percent.
Support for the pro-Kremlin party of power, United Russia, fell four percentage points to 53 percent, the poll showed.
Russian media reports linked the fall to accusations of rigging in regional elections swept by United Russia on October 11 that prompted the opposition to briefly walk out of parliament.
Analysts say Russia's leadership risks a fall in support if the effects of the economic downturn drag on too long.
GDP is expected to contract by more than eight percent from its 2008 level this year. Unemployment has recovered slightly after hitting a 9-year high earlier this year.