Chechen Interior Minister Ali Akhanov leads with 45.1 percent of the vote compared with only 25.3 percent for his closest challenger, Malik Saidullayev, and 14.1 percent for veteran politician Ruslan Khasbulatov, Interfax said. The election is due to be held Aug. 29 and the polls were conducted in the Chechen autonomous republic and among the Chechen expatriate communities in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the news agency said.
Akhbanov has merged as the strongman in the government of the Chechen autonomous republic following the assassination of his predecessor by secessionist guerrillas fighting for full independence from Moscow.
Sociologists believe there will be a high turnout in the election and that most voters have already picked their choice, Interfax said.
Interfax did not supply the number of people polled, the dates of the query or the survey's margin of error.