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51% OF RUSSIAN IMMIGRANTS SUPPORT BUSH AND 46% SUPPORT KERRY
NEW YORK, October 31 (RIA Novosti's Andrei Loshchilin) - According to the results of the poll conducted by the Russian-language TV channel RTN last week, 51% of emigrants from the former Soviet Union intend to vote for incumbent President George Bush during the November 2 presidential elections, and 46% are willing to support his rival John Kerry.
More than 1 million Russian immigrants reside in New York, its suburbs and neighboring districts of New Jersey and Connecticut alone. Among those, according to director of analytical services of the Press Release Group Ilya Meerzon, 500-700 thousand possess voting rights.
"It is quite a large number, if we take into account the fact that in New York 4 million people will cast their votes on Tuesday," head of the New York City election committee John Ravitz told a RIA Novosti correspondent. "Let's put it this way: Russian immigrants will not determine the results of voting in New York, but will certainly influence those results," Mr. Meerzon stressed.
"Although New York has always been a Democrats' stronghold, the Russian immigrants tend to disagree with the common opinion. The Russian-speaking community, in general, puts more trust in Republican presidents. It's been a tradition since the times of Ronald Reagan," chief editor of the Novoye Russkoe Slovo daily newspaper Valery Weinberg said in an interview with RIA Novosti. The newspaper is the oldest non-English-language publication celebrating its 95th anniversary next year.
"Bush's election headquarters shows enough interest in our community. The same cannot be said about Mr. Kerry's team," said Mr. Weinberg. "Recently the current president agreed to have an interview with our newspaper and answered questions of our great concern. We consider his gesture as a sign of the recognition of the growing role of Russian immigrant community in the life of the country."
In his interview with the Novoye Russkoe Slovo, Mr. Bush called the Russian-speaking community in the United States "an example of the realization of the American dream." In many respects it corresponds to reality: according to data provided by Mr. Meerzon, the average annual income of a Russian-speaking resident of the Greater New York is $45,000, which is $9,000 higher than the annual income of an average New Yorker.