Can we trust Konda?

A leaked survey from a long-standing pollster appears to confirm what we already know about Turkey’s approaching general election
Konda Tarhan Erdem

A leaked survey from a long-standing pollster appears to confirm what we already know

Konda Tarhan Erdem This morning’s Cumhuriyet, a key opposition paper, is leading with polling story. Under the headline “AKP melting, CHP on the rise”, the paper points to a leaked survey by one pollster to suggest support for Turkey’s governing party is crumbling.

The paper says support for the governing AK Party has dropped from 42.9% to 40.5%, while the opposition CHP has increased from 26.2% to 28.7%.

It’s certainly a trend we’ve seen in recent months (see our rolling tracker for more on this) but many will be ask whether the company that came up with the numbers can be trusted.

Konda is one of Turkey’s oldest and most secretive pollsters. It doesn’t routinely publish its polls: in fact, its policy is to never confirm or deny the numbers attributed to it.

Shaky recent history…

That doesn’t stop publishing opinion polls on occasion. It has been predicting Turkish elections since the 1980s but made its name more recently when it correctly predicted a second AK Party landslide in 2007.

But it didn’t do anywhere nearly as well more recently. Its single poll for the 2014 presidential election was some way off the actual result, prompting Konda director Tarhan Erdem to apologise and launch a period of self-reflection.

He said at the time: “We apologise to public for our unacceptable error, which produced a disparity between our 7 August announcement regarding the possible result of the presidential election and the actual result that was beyond the margin of error.”

Rolling poll: 22 May
Rolling poll: 22 May

…but let’s run with it

In typical Konda fashion, the company is refusing to either associate or disassociate itself with this morning’s results. But the original source for the figures – BloombergHT, the Turkish offshoot of the global business channel – is credible. The broadcaster says the numbers caused the dollar to climb 0.03 Turkish Lira and the Istanbul stock exchange to dip by 1.4%.

We’ve updated our rolling poll average to reflect Konda’s result and a few other polls published in recent weeks. This places the AK Party on 42.3% and CHP on 26.6%, followed by the MHP (16.4%) and HDP (10.3%).

But while the result might be one of the more credible polls published in this election season, it doesn’t do too much more than confirm what we already suspect:

20150522 rolling average line
The rolling average in recent weeks

In the last few months support for the AK Party has dropped noticeably, but slightly. Support for the CHP and MHP has risen noticeably, but slightly. And the HDP is still hugging the 10% electoral threshold, but the side it will end up on is anybody’s guess.

But an additional note

Update: Turkish pollsters are traditionally reluctant to share details about how they gathered their data, but it’s worth reinforcing the point that we know even less about this Konda poll because it is a leak. As Christy Quirk points out, this means that we don’t know what the margin of error was in Konda’s poll: a margin of more than 2% could mean the headline fall in AK Party support is meaningless.

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  1. Hi “James”. This is slightly unrelated to the topic but I always had that question so I will take the chance and ask it here.

    You say very often that there is no way Turkey will get a government other than an AKP. But unless I misintepretating the turkish electoral system, there is absolutely no way AKP will have a majority if HDP crosses the 10% thresholdt, which is looking likely.

    A rainbow coalition of HDP, CHP and MHP is obviously something quite unlikely but I fail too see how much more realistic is one of those parties lending support to Erdogan. Maybe the MHP, maybe. So why it’s so certain that AKP will rule no matter what? And how a minority government or a coalitiono with MHP would be different from the status quo nowadays?

    1. I don’t think I ‘very often’ rule out anything other than an AK government – in fact, I don’t recall saying that at all. Nothing about this election is certain and all the permutations you mention are possible. It’s perfectly possible for the AK Party to get a majority AND for the HDP to cross the threshold. An AK minority government is plausible, as is a rainbow coalition.

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