Erdogan: Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan trails election rival in poll

ISTANBUL: A survey conducted on Thursday by the closely watched Konda polling institute showed that the Turkish President Tayip Erdogan lagging behind its main rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu by more than five percentage points ahead of Sunday’s presidential election.
The investigation supported Erdogan on 43.7% and Kilicdaroglu on 49.3%, leaving him short of the majority needed to win in the first round and suggesting the election would go to a runoff between the two men on May 28.
The results reinforced the impression that Erdogan faces the biggest challenge of his two-decade rule in the vote. They were broadly in line with some other polls that put Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of the main opposition alliance, in the lead.
Erdogan’s task has been complicated by a cost-of-living crisis, triggered by a falling pound and runaway inflation, and a devastating earthquake in February that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and left million homeless.
The survey, carried out on May 6 and 7, estimated support for the other two candidates at 4.8% for Sinan Ogan and 2.2% for Muharrem Ince. Konda said the majority of his voters were leaning towards voting for Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), in a runoff.
A Metropoll poll also showed the vote heading for a runoff, with Kilicdaroglu getting 49.1% and Erdogan 46.9%. In a second round, it showed Kilicdaroglu winning with 51.3%.
But Hakan Akbas, managing director of Strategic Advisory Servicesan Istanbul-based political adviser, said Erdogan appeared to be on track to achieve what he was hoping for: a runoff with Kilicdaroglu.
“Given the earthquakes and the economic crisis, it would still be a success for him. What matters even more now are the parliamentary results,” he said.
“If it’s a hung parliament, Erdogan will call on voters to choose stability over chaos, probably after the coalition of six opposition parties.”
Konda’s survey put support for Erdogan’s ruling alliance at 44.0% in the parliamentary vote, ahead of the main opposition alliance at 39.9%. The pro-Kurdish HDP party, which supports Kilicdaroglu, should play a role of “kingmaker”.
Konda said the HDP, running under the banner of another party due to the threat of a legal ban, and its leftist allies would have won 12.3% of the vote in the parliamentary vote. That would leave Erdogan and his allies in the minority.
“There is no doubt that Erdogan faces a majority who want change – and that includes young people,” said Asli Aydintasbas, visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution. “The only question is whether people believe that Kilicdaroglu is that agent of change.”
“Whether he barely wins or not, I feel like the Erdogan era is over,” she added. “Turkish society is ready to move forward. And unfortunately, President Erdogan does not leave behind an institutional governance model.”
Konda, which publicly releases only one poll ahead of the votes, conducted face-to-face interviews with 3,480 people at 35 provincial centers. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.2% at a 99% confidence level, Konda said.


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