RELEASE: Poll Shows Erdoğan Not Assured of First-Round Victory in Turkish Election

Washington, D.C. — A major new poll ahead of Turkish elections shows sharp divisions among Turks about the tenure of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and deep concerns about the state of the national economy.

The findings are based on a comprehensive survey conducted jointly by the Center for American Progress and Metropoll, a respected Turkish survey research firm, comprising 2,534 face-to-face interviews in 28 provinces.

About 45 percent of respondents say they plan to vote for Erdoğan in the initial round of voting, with main opposition candidate Muharrem İnce polling second with 19 percent. If Erdoğan falls short of 50 percent, the election will go to a runoff. Erdoğan likewise leads in a head-to-head matchup against İnce by 48 percent to 36 percent, with about 7 percent undecided.

In the simultaneous parliamentary election, the president’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), in electoral alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), is leading in the polls but could fall short of a parliamentary majority, depending on the exact geographic distribution of the vote.  The AKP-MHP alliance leads the opposition alliance by 46 percent to 33 percent.  Crucially, the poll shows the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) narrowly clearing the 10 percent electoral threshold.

In the survey, 54 percent of Turks say they believe that the upcoming elections will be conducted in a free and fair manner while 46 percent disagree. On the economy, 52 percent of Turks say that it is “managed poorly” by the current government compared to 41 percent who feel it is “managed well.” And more than 6 in 10 people said the government is mismanaging currency and inflation issues.

Overall, 43 percent of Turks say their family’s living standards have worsened in the past year versus 27 percent who say they have improved over this time.

These results show that Turks remain deeply divided and uncertain about the political leadership of Turkey, the state of the national economy, and the country’s posture and position vis-à-vis the West and Russia.

Read the column: “Erdoğan Not Assured of First-Round Victory” by John Halpin, Max Hoffman, Michael Werz, and Alan Makovsky

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202-478-6327.