ISLAMABAD: A new survey on the upcoming elections shows PML-N and PTI in neck and neck fight without any clear winner thus portraying a scenario of a hung parliament, as the majority of the population believes Pakistan is heading in the wrong direction.
However, the number of respondents who expressed the intention to vote this time has increased from 76% in 2013 to 82% in 2018.
If the elections are held today, 32% population has shown the intention to vote for the PML-N, 29% for PTI and 13% for PPP, according to a countrywide survey conducted by the Institute of Public Opinion Research (IPOR) in collaboration with an American firm, Global Strategic Partners.
The survey was carried out between June 13-July 04 of 3,735 respondents from all across Pakistan. Around 72% responded.
There is a consensus among the pollsters in Pakistan that 35% vote is a minimum threshold to determine which party takes a lead in countrywide elections and right now there is none.
However, the PTI has gained popularity from 27% in November 2017 to 29% in July 2018 whereas the PML-N has lost from 37% to 32% in the corresponding period and the PPP’s position has remained the same (13%).
Interestingly, Shahbaz Sharif has scored the highest approval among six political figures surveyed. Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto follow him in terms of popularity ranking. Development work and performance are key reasons of Shahbaz's popularity whereas Imran has endeared the public through his slogan of change and honesty.
Three major issues people tended to hear, watch or read the most about the PML-N are as a corrupt party, its development work and Panama scandal respectively whereas PTI’s fight against corruption, Imran Khan’s marriage with Bushra and Reham Khan’s upcoming book are the issues that attracted the most of public attention.
Nawaz Sharif’s slogan “vote ko izzat do” and his attribution to “khalai makhlooq” as a reason of his removal received a split verdict in the survey.