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Monthly Herald

Published Date: Oct 27, 2015

Political fortunes change fast with surveys

ISLAMABAD: Last week a survey placed Imran Khan behind the ruling Sharif brothers in popularity – 49 per cent against the latter’s 75 per cent.
A new survey this week has found that Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is more popular than the Sharifs’ PML-N.
“PTI is rising nationwide,” according to the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) which carried out the latest survey “Political barometer 2015” over the past two weeks.
“PTI enjoys the support of 32.5 per cent of the respondents, followed by the 27.6 per cent who supported the PML-N. The PPP came a poor third with 14.5 per cent and the image of MQM took a knock,” said SDPI’s executive director Dr Abid Q. Suleri releasing the findings of the survey on Monday which was sub-titled ‘Socio-political preferences of people of Pakistan’.
Dr Suleri informed mediapersons inquisitive about the popularity graph that the SDPI’s survey was “a perception-based survey and perceptions can change any time.”
Other key findings of the survey were that majority of the people considered China as Pakistan’s most reliable ally, and that the military establishment influenced Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Last week’s survey was conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat) in June about the quality of governance and democracy people experienced during the two years Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had been in power.
Both the organisations polled respondents of all ages and backgrounds, and all over the country, in urban as well as rural areas. Pildat had approached 217 more respondents than the SDPI – 3,231 against 3,014. Almost 1,690 respondents of the SDPI lived in Punjab.
“Fifty-five per cent of them (SDPI respondents) were not satisfied with the economic performance of the federal government, and 56 per cent felt the government was not serious in resolving the problem of inflation,” the SDPI chief said.
And 57 per cent of the respondents said the performance of the federal government improved “because of the dharna of PTI.” In their view, PML-N suffered from the dharna while PTI suffered from the judicial commission’s report.
An overwhelming 74 per cent of them were in favour of the local government system, and 39 per cent held the Election Commission of Pakistan responsible for delaying the local government elections in Punjab and Sindh.
In the forthcoming local government elections, people would put local issues and personalities above the political parties’ choices.
Dr Suleri said a majority of people think that the security situation has improved during the last three years and suggest that the army and political leaderships should unite to counter terrorism.
“Majority of the people believe that China Pakistan Economic Corridor will have a good impact on Pakistan. Seventy-eight per cent of them count China as the most reliable ally of Pakistan and bilateral trade between them should be the top priority,” he added.
For the majority of the SDPI respondents, ‘corruption’ was more worrying a problem than the electricity crisis and terrorism. Police, Wapda and the health departments were mentioned as the most corrupt, in that order.
While 27 per cent of respondents said: “only the army” can stop corruption, 20 per cent thought the media “can play a vital role” in reining in corruption.
About 55 per cent of the respondents believed that India is involved in fomenting terrorism in Pakistan.
SDPI’s focal person Shakeel Ahmad Ramay told Dawn that the organisation sent out teams “to interview people across the country simultaneously and share fresh perceptions on their socio-political preferences.”