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MARTIN, Tenn. — Boris Yeltsin’s chances of being reelected president of Russia are improved because the runoff will be held at midweek, a University of Tennessee-Martin political scientist said Tuesday.

Yeltsin outpolled Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov 35 percent to 32 percent June 16, and they face each other in a two-man presidential runoff Wednesday, July 3.

Dr. Ted Mosch, once assigned to a U.S. Army intelligence unit to monitor the Soviet Union military and politics, said Yeltsin’s camp believes the weekday runoff helps its cause.

Yeltsin fears many of his supporters, who retire to their countryside homes on weekends, might not remain in the cities to vote unless the election were held on a weekday.

“Die-hard Communists will vote regardless of whether it’s a weekend or not,” Mosch said.

A poll released Sunday by the independent NTV network gave Yeltsin a 53-34 percent lead over Zyuganov in the runoff. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.

Seventy percent of eligible Russians voted June 16, “and that’s fantastic,” Mosch said.

“We have 54 percent; we think a 60 percent turnout is fantastic, so they can teach us something.”

Contact: Ted Mosch (901-587-7481)