At the year began, Yeltsin’s popularity ratings were in the single digits and it was widely believed that he was too ill to campaign vigorously and to keep his Kremlin elite under reliable control. However, as the months passed, the Yeltsin campaign team did remarkably well. By the May holidays Yeltsin was pulling ahead of his Communist opponent, Gennady Zyuganov; but neither expected to win enough votes to be elected in the first round on 16 June 1996.