With over four years of governance under its belt, it’s widely acknowledged that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has rapidly become a deeply unpopular party. A poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan this year, however, may shed some light on just how unpopular it is – and how opposition parties have benefited from this.
In the 2008 general elections, 31% of the electorate voted for the PPP.
The Gallup survey, which used a sample size of 4,940 people from across the country, states that as far as voting intentions are concerned, this figure has now now been reduced to 21% in 2012.
Meanwhile, intention to vote for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the upcoming general elections has drastically increased.
From a 20% vote in 2008, Nawaz Sharif’s centre-right party is now up to 33%. New arrival on the political scene, Imran Khan’s PTI, is up from 0% (the party boycotted the previous polls) to 17%.
In 2011, Imran’s party emerged as what many called a ‘game changer’ in the voter demographic.
PPP’s ups and downs
On the other hand, while President Asif Ali Zardari’s government seems thoroughly disliked by much of the populace, there may be a silver lining for the besieged incumbent administration.
In 2012, a whopping 87% of the population believes the country is heading in the ‘wrong direction’ – but interestingly, this figure is actually down from 2011, when a stunning 93% of the nation felt this pessimism.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani’s approval ratings also dropped post 2011, as he came to be more closely identified with President Zardari – he had fared far better between 2010 and 2011, in the wake of the passage of the 18th amendment.
By 2012 however, his net rating (the difference between positive and negative ratings) was down to a negative 40%. The president, meanwhile, has had increasingly negative ratings since 2008.
Province wise, the survey’s results show that traditional strongholds have remained just that, with PTI making deep inroads in Punjab and Khyber-Pakthunkhwa. Imran’s party has almost double the support in Punjab that the PPP does – 21% as opposed to 12%.
Meanwhile, the PML-N’s fears of Imran Khan’s political potency seem to be unfounded: While the PTI has gained massively in Punjab, so has Nawaz’s party, where actual votes have increased from 29% in 2008 to 44% intended votes in 2012.
Miraculously, in Sindh, the PPP managed to glean more votes (at least intended) than in 2008.
PTI, in spite of a massive rally in Karachi in 2011 generally considered to have changed perceptions regarding their success, maintained a modest 6% of the voting pie in the province – while PML-N came in last, with 5% of intended votes.
In Khyber-Pakthunkhwa, the PPP has fared particularly badly, going down from 18% in 2008 to a mere 6% of intended votes in 2012. PPP’s allies, including the currently provincial ruling party Awami National Party, have also lost almost half of their electorate since 2008.
PML-N and PTI have, on the other hand, gained considerable ground – they now stand to gain 42% and 25% of intended votes respectively.
In Balochistan, nobody’s very popular. Significantly, PPP’s strength has increased in the province as has the PML-N’s and PTI’s. PPP allies and other parties have lost a great deal of support on the other hand.
Violence, unrest, separatism
The Gallup survey also monitored public opinion on the restive situation in Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
Interestingly, 71% of the sample was in favour of autonomy for Balochistan, while almost two-thirds of the country was against independence. Meanwhile optimism on relations with India has risen drastically, with net optimism soaring to 29 points in 2012 from -51 in 2010.
*DISCLAIMER: THE STATISTICS PUBLISHED HERE HAVE BEEN PROVIDED BY GALLUP PAKISTAN.
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE CANNOT GUARANTEE THEIR VERACITY.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2012.
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