ISLAMABAD: A constituency-wise survey of entire Punjab has found the PML-N maintaining popularity despite the ongoing corruption trial of Nawaz Sharif, disqualification of its prominent leaders, and defection of so-called electables.
Although, the PML-N is ahead with 51 percent vote bank, it has largely preserved its vote with only a 2 percent increase in comparison with 2013. This is in contrast with the significant increase in PTI's vote -- from 19 percent in 2013 to 30 percent in 2018.
The Institute of Public Opinion Research (IPOR) conducted the survey with the biggest-ever sample size of 200,349 respondents from the province. The opinion poll was carried out between April 15 and June 2 this year with a response rate of over 72 percent. All National Assembly constituencies of Punjab (141) were surveyed with average sample size of 1,420 respondents from each constituency. This is in contrast with most country-wide surveys, where the total respondents generally range between 3,000 and 4,000.
According to the survey, the PML-N is ahead of the PTI with 5:3 ratio of voters. The majority of these respondents said loadshedding significantly decreased in the past five years and posed trust in the performance of their MNAs and MPAs in terms of development work. But respondents also identified three most important issues they face: access to clean drinking water, gas, and sewerage. Health, education, unemployment and corruption received the lowest scores in their priority list.
Survey findings indicate that the PTI largely took away the PPP vote in Punjab, which has now been reduced to 5 percent from 11 percent in 2013, as many PPP leaders switched to the PTI in addition to the PML-Q leaders. Imran Khan’s party is also considered a beneficiary of the fresh vote as 20 million new voters were enrolled after the population census. Tehreek-e-Labbaik with 3 percent emerged as the fourth largest party, whereas the PML-Q and Jamaat-e-Islami have 1 percent vote each.
Performance of Shahbaz Sharif, despite his general perception as the most efficient chief minister, hasn’t been well-received in the public. To a question that how they see the five-year performance of his government, only 28 percent rated it very good whereas 48 percent termed it average, 13 percent considered it bad, and 7 percent declared it very bad. However, 64 percent respondents were satisfied with the development work carried out by their respective MNAs and 63 percent endorsed their MPAs.
Unlike yet another general perception that the PTI is very popular among the youth, in particular women, the survey gives the verdict in favour of the PML-N.
The majority of voters (46 percent) fell in the age-bracket of 26-40 years. Of the total respondents, 24 percent belonged to this age bracket and identified themselves as supporters of the PML-N compared to 14 percent for the PTI. The second biggest number of respondents (23 percent) was in the age-bracket of 18-25 years. Of the respondents surveyed, 11 percent fell in this age group and said their vote was for PML-N in comparison with 8 percent for the PTI. Seventeen percent of the respondents were 41 to 50 years old, with 9 percent supporting the PML-N compared to 5 percent supporting the PTI.
If a gender-wise comparison is taken, 34 percent of the men and 17 percent of the women support the PML-N, whereas 22 percent male and 8 percent female respondents said they support the PTI.
When surveyors asked about the single most important issue facing their constituencies, 17 percent each ticked drinking water and gas, while 16 percent said it was sewerage. The top three divisions where respondents identified drinking water as the most important issue were Bahawalpur (28 percent), Sahiwal (2 percent) and Rawalpindi (22 percent) respectively. Gas was the most important issue in Rawalpindi (22 percent), Faisalabad (19 percent) and Gujranwala (19 percent), while sewerage was the single most important concern for respondents in Multan (22 percent), Sargodha (21 percent), and Faisalabad (19 percent).
Although health, education, unemployment and corruption are generally thought to be the most important issues being faced by Pakistanis, three percent declared health, education and unemployment each as the biggest concern, whereas one percent identified corruption. Only 8 percent pointed towards loadshedding as the most important issue.
Responding to a separate question, 67 percent declared that loadshedding had significantly decreased in their respective constituencies in the last five years, 24 percent said it had not decreased, while 8 percent didn’t respond.
The survey has also mapped the vote bank region-wise. The PML-N has the highest vote in Central Punjab (55 percent). This is followed by Western Punjab (52 percent), Southern Punjab (49 percent), and Northern Punjab (42 percent).
Meanwhile, the PTI leads in Northern Punjab (31 percent) and Western Punjab (31 percent), followed by Central Punjab (30 percent) and South Punjab (29 percent). The PPP’s highest vote is in South Punjab (8 percent).
Note from Editor/Disclaimer: Surveys and polls are not always accurate but are useful in capturing trends. Surveys and polls results change as per events and as the election day approaches. IPOR is a syndicated survey that includes commissioning by different political parties such as the PTI and PML-N and others. It was not commissioned by Jang, Geo, The News.
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