–Survey finds PTI ahead in the national vote bank while PML-N going strong in Punjab
–Gallup Pakistan ranges expected votes between 30pc and 32pc for PTI; 27pc to 30pc for PML-N; and 17pc to 20pc for PPP
ISLAMABAD: Gallup Pakistan, in its poll of 2018 General Elections released a day before elections where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are running neck to neck, suggested that PTI is ahead in the national vote bank and PML-N is ahead in the crucial province of Punjab.
Gallup poll indicates that the dramatic rise of PTI at both national and provincial level is mostly on account of winning over voters of PML-N as well as other parties.
Thus, while the vote bank of PML-N has declined nationally by, 3-6 per cent depending on the polls considered, from its vote bank of GE 2013, the PTI vote bank during the same time period has nearly doubled from its score of 17 per cent in 2013. The rise of PTI is explained both by the decline of PML-N as well as the decline in votes of other parties (as well as the share of independents in the voting pattern).
In Pakistan’s ‘First Past the Post’ electoral system, the ascent of PTI to catch PML-N could cause a major upset for the parliamentary seat distribution in Punjab. This will, in turn, create two key competitors for forming the federal government. In 2013, PML-N was marked ahead by nearly 100 seats more than the runner-up in the National Assembly (NA).
The national average of expected votes computed by Gallup Pakistan ranges between 30 per cent to 32 per cent for PTI; 27 per cent to 30 per cent for PML-N; and 17 per cent to 20 per cent for Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
The poll of polls computed by Gallup Pakistan constitutes the average of poll findings by five different polling organisations and the expected outcome at national and sub-national level. In terms of federal government, PTI is all set to lead followed closely by PML-N. PML-N would lead in terms of votes in Punjab followed closely by PTI with a single digit margin.
Interestingly, in south Punjab, the poll says that the anti-PML-N vote will be in majority with PTI in lead. Same holds true in north Punjab where competition is tough and PTI leads.
In Sindh, according to the poll, PPP would continue to dominate. While in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), PTI will continue to lead whereas in Balochistan, a coalition of parties would be able to form a government
Interestingly, the poll found that 12 per cent of the respondents were still undecided, with some of them saying that they would decide on the election day.
Unlike the previous ten elections in Pakistan, a wide range of polling data is available on the forthcoming elections.
Were one to add up the latest measurements provided by these polls (two of which were conducted in July and three in May and June 2018, together with surveying around 22,000 respondents) and average them, the conclusion shared by nearly all pollsters is that it will be an unpredictable election.
The Gallup analysis suggests that the profile of the undecided voters is close to the profile of PML-N voters. If these undecided PML-N voters decide to join PTI fold or go back to PML-N in large numbers, the situation may change drastically. That is why we think that the undecided voters may tilt the balance of the forthcoming elections in Punjab and thereby determine the fate of the federal government.
The unpredictability forecast is reinforced by the uncertainty about the playing field. There is a considerable display of judicial and para-judicial activity culminating in arrests, disqualifications and judgments which cause concern among all key contestants except the front-runner of the polling data, PTI.