By: Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI
During first week of May 2013, SDPI conducted a survey in 55 districts of Pakistan to gauge the popularity of different political parties in the context of forthcoming elections. 5700 respondents, stratified as per the national average for provincial population, gender ratio, urbanization ratio, and age were questioned about their political preference. To capture voter’s diversity, Punjab and KPK/FATA were divided in 3 regions, whereas Sindh was divided in 2 regions.
In 2008 elections, 45.1% of our respondents voted for PPP, 29.2% voted for PML-N, 7.7% voted for PML-Q , 3.1% for ANP, 4% for JUI-F, 2.1% for JI, and 1.2% for MQM. PPP lost its support by 27% points in
May 2013. Only 18% of our respondents have indicated that they would vote for PPP in next elections.
PML-N gained 4% point among our respondents and thus 33% of them would vote for PML-N now. PTI which had boycotted 2008 elections seems to create huge dent on PPP’s vote bank. 22% of our respondents have indicated that they would vote of PTI. The gain of PTI and PML-N, compared to 2008 polls, equals to net loss of PPP. JI appears to be another gainer; it has gained 3% point votes and emerges as 4th popular party among our respondents. PML-Q has lost 5.8% point of its votes and ANP has lost 2% points compared to their votes in 2008 elections. MQM seems almost stable with a gain of
0.6% point votes.
The Top four parties for next elections among our respondents include PML-N, PTI, PPP, and JI.
PML-N with 49% support emerges as single largest party in lower, central, and upper Punjab, it is followed by PTI (28%) and PPP (10%). PTI has maximum popularity in central Punjab (36%) and doing well in upper and lower Punjab (29% & 19%). PPP also seems to have some presence in lower Punjab (15%) and it fails to impress in central and upper Punjab (6% and 7%).
In Sindh PPP tops among our respondents with 40% votes, PML-F is second with 18% votes, while PML-N and PTI stand at 13.1% and 10.2% respectively. In Karachi, 27% of our respondents would vote for PTI, while PML-N, PPP, and MQM stand at 13.7%, 12% and 15% respectively.
KPK and FATA
25% of our respondents tend to vote for PTI, 18% for JUI-F, 17% for JI, and 15% for PPP. ANP could only bag 6%. KPK seems to be led by PTI with center right parties JUI, and JI following it. ANP is the major loser in this province.
Both BNP and PML-N are being supported by 28% each of our respondents, JI (17%), PTI (10%) and JUI-F
(6%) are the other popular parties in Balochistan.
Rural Urban divide (National level)
PTI has 26% of its voters in urban areas against 20% in rural areas. MQM and PML (F) are other two parties who gather more support from urban areas. PML-N has 35% voters in rural areas, against 31% in
urban areas whereas PPP has 19% voters in rural areas against 14% in urban areas.
52% of our respondents were of the age between 18-35 years. Among them, 30% would support PML-N,
27% PTI, and 15% PPP. 31% of our voters are influenced by party’s program while 24% don’t consider party affiliation very important and go for candidate’s personal stature. 17.2% are influenced by baradari (cast) or tribe. 20% are influenced by media reporting and talk shows.
The votebank of PML-N and PTI seems to be equally divided among male and female voters. There is some gap in preferences for the case of PPP and MQM. 18% female favor PPP while 16.8% males favor the same party. Similarly in case of MQM, 2.1% female and 1.4% males are in favor. Among the religious parties the presence of male voters is relatively larger in JI (5.7% male and 3.9% female). The most popular party among female is PML-N followed by PTI.
Are elections free and fair?
42% of our respondents from Karachi, one third from Balochistan, and almost one quarter from central and upper Punjab consider election would not be free and fair.
Like all other surveys, SDPI’s survey is also a perception survey. Electoral result would depend whether all registered voters go to cast their vote. Concentration of votes in a particular constituency and security situation on the day of poll are other major determinants of election results. The final outcome of election is only 24 hours away but it can be said that no party seems to form federal government on its own. Thus we should be ready for another coalition government with at least one provincial government opposing the federal government.