Early results: Russia's Putin wins re-election
MOSCOW - An exit poll and early returns suggest that Vladimir Putin has easily won a fourth term, keeping him as Russia's president for six more years.
The nationwide exit poll conducted by the All-Russia Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) showed that Putin won 73.9 percent of Sunday's presidential vote. The poll covered 161,000 respondents at 1,200 precincts in 68 Russian provinces and had a margin of error of no more than 3.5 percent.
The exit poll findings looked similar to early results from Russia's Far East, where the presidential vote ended eight hours ago. The Central Election Commission said with 21 percent of all precincts counted, Putin was leading the race with 71.9 percent of the vote.
The exit poll showed Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin in second place with 11.2 percent of the vote, while ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky came in third with 6.7 percent.