A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how despite (or perhaps due to) the situation in Crimea and Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin was enjoying a three-year high in his approval ratings.
On Wednesday, the independent Levada Center released their latest numbers for Putin, and they show that his popularity is growing even more. Putin now holds an enormous 80-percent approval rating. Just 18 percent of Russians appear unhappy with his leadership, the lowest number in years (the other 2 percent are unsure).
As you can see from the above chart, Putin's popularity is almost reaching the incredible heights of 2008, when he was riding high on Russia's booming oil economy and a short, triumphant war with Georgia. Could it reach those heights again? It certainly does seem to be trending upward, though there have been some good arguments that the economic impact of Crimea may eventually pull these numbers down.
Sure, there are a lot of caveats with polls like this, 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.