Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu would defeat Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by a margin of more than five percent if an election were to be held tomorrow, according to a recent opinion poll.
The Arti Gercek news portal reported on Monday that the survey, conducted by the private pollster PIAR, revealed support of 44.5 percent for Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to be president.
In contrast, only 39.7 percent of those polled wanted Erdogan to be president. This is a drop in support of more than 12 percent as he had won 52.54 percent of the votes in the presidential election last year.
Imamoglu won the Istanbul mayoral election race by a slight margin against Binali Yildirim from Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on March 31.
This was annulled by the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) following AKP claims of voting irregularities.
Later in the June 23 election rerun, Imamoglu again won the mayoralty by a greater margin, garnering more than 54 percent of the votes. Almost all opposition parties backed Imamoglu in both votes.
Many believe that Imamoglu has reached out to wider segments of society that CHP has long failed to attract and has become one of the prominent candidates to run in the next presidential election.
In April, following his first victory, Imamoglu had told the BBC in an interview that he has not ruled out the idea of being Turkey’s next president.
“God knows,” Imamoglu said at the time with a chuckle, when asked whether he envisaged himself as Turkey’s next president.
The PIAR poll also surveyed the support for political parties. If a parliamentary election were held, the AKP would receive 31.9 percent of votes, while the CHP would follow closely with 24.7 percent vote share, according to the results.
In the 2018 general elections, the AKP stood at 42.6 percent of votes, while the CHP was polled at 22.6 percent.
AKP’s far-right election ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) saw a small decrease by 0.5 percent when compared to last years’ election and garnered 10.6 percent in the PIAR poll.
Other opposition parties, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and the nationalist Good Party (IYI) followed with 10.2 and 9 percent respectively.
The survey also questioned the public opinion about two AKP-breakaway parties that are expected to be formed later this year by former Economy Minister Ali Babacan and ex-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to challenge Erdogan’s government.
As many as 7.7 percents of those surveyed said they would cast their votes for Babacan’s probable party, with 3.4 percent supporting Davutoglu in a possible parliamentary election in Turkey.
The pollster also asked the participants about their opinion on the problematic issues that the country faces. The economy was named as the most important problem 34.2 percent, with 60 percent saying that it will not get better in the short term.
Other problems that follow respectively were listed as unemployment with 16 percent, Turkey’s foreign policy in Syria with 6 percent, and education with 10.4 percent.
The PIAR reportedly conducted the face-to-face survey, titled “The Political Agenda across Turkey,” with 1,416 people in 26 Turkish provinces between November 19 and 24.