There are further signs that support for Turkey’s governing party is sliding
An interesting survey by the pollster Gezici last week uses the unusual tactic of polling voters in six specific provinces rather than across Tureky as a whole.
The six – Antalya, Mersin, Adana, Gaziantep, Hatay and Şanlıurfa – are interesting because they are all medium-sized towns that have historically attracted support from all the main political parties. This means they can produce a picture of the average Turkish voter that is more accurate than, say, an AK Party stronghold in central Anatolia.
The results reveal a few interesting trends:
First, support for the AK Party is falling in each province: slightly in the west, but dramatically in the east. In Antalya, where the AK candidate won the mayoralty by a whisker in last year’s local elections, the party’s support is down by more than six percentage points. But in Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa, near the Syrian border, support is down by as much as a third.
Second, the apparent east/west divide dictates the party that benefits most from this potential AK exodus. There are clear gains in the east for the pro-Kurdish HDP, which is contesting the election as a party for the first time in 13 years. In the west, the beneficiary is the nationalist MHP, the party most likely to appeal to conservative AK voters.
Third, support for the main opposition CHP appears to be relatively static with the notable exception is Gaziantep, where Gezici found the greatest drop in AK Party support.
The CHP result will be reassuring for those concerned that the centre-left vote is being split by the HDP, as it suggests the CHP core vote is holding strong. But as the election campaign gets underway it is the CHP’s rivals that appear to be plundering disenchanted AK voters.
Indeed, JamesInTurkey.com’s projection of the seat distribution in each province reveals the CHP gains only one seat (in Gaziantep) if Gezici’s results were played out in an election. The HDP would gain five seats and the MHP, six.
If the same trend was reflected across the country, the AK Party would be returned to power as a single-party government. It would, however, be well short of the seats needed to change the constitution and introduce an executive presidency. That assumes, however, that the HDP crosses the 10% election threshold.
No reckless conclusions
As with all election polling, it’s important to bear in mind some caveats. This is not a reflection of how people will vote on 7 June. Gezici’s survey result is just one snapshot of voter intentions nearly three weeks ago and opinion may have changed. The research was conducted well before the mass power cuts and the subsequent hostage incident in Istanbul, for example.
It’s also worth noting that, although its methods appear straightforward, Gezici’s surveys do tend to underrepresent support for the AK Party.
But it’s interesting that a regional poll appears to corroborate the trend in this website’s long-term polling, that there is a small but noticeable drop in support for the government. Let’s see if the election campaign changes that.