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AKP losing diehard supporters due to ‘endless’ financial problems, poll shows

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ORC, an Ankara-based pollster known to be close to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, has said in a series of tweets that the ruling party has started to lose its diehard voter base due to “unending financial problems,” local media reported on Monday.

According to the results of an ORC poll conducted between Sept. 1-5 on 4,180 people in 41 provinces, 59.9 percent of participants, including nearly 40 percent of those who voted for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the last presidential election held in 2018, favored an early election.

The company said the reasons behind Erdoğan voters’ demand for an early election were financial difficulties, injustices and the refugee crisis in the country.

“Although the idea that the [financial] crisis [prompted by COVID-19] was everywhere and that everything would return to normal after the lockdowns [that were aimed at curbing infections] prevailed during the lockdowns, it was observed that AKP’s diehard voters moved away from the party once [they realized that] their financial problems didn’t end after the quarantine,” ORC tweeted.

According to the company, respondents who found the AKP government’s overall performance “unsuccessful” numbered far more than the 59.9 percent who want an early election.

“The argument that ‘AKP cannot recover from this [loss of votes]’ is more dangerous for the ruling party than anything else,” ORC said, adding that it would prompt an increasing number of people to vote for new parties formed by former AKP heavyweights who parted ways with Erdoğan after serving in various high-level positions in his cabinets.

Those political parties are the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) and the Future Party (GP), which were founded in recent years by former economy minister Ali Babacan and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, respectively.

ORC further emphasized that the AKP, which has been ruling Turkey as a single-party government since 2002, was at serious risk of losing its place as the leading party if the downward trend in its votes revealed in the recent months’ polls continues.

According to ORC, the AKP would have received a nationwide vote of around 32.1 percent if a general election were to have been held earlier in September, while votes for its far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would have stood at 9.7 percent.

The September poll also showed votes of the Nation Alliance, an opposition bloc established to challenge Erdoğan’s 19-year rule, at 39.2 percent in total, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) receiving 25.3 percent and the İYİ (Good) Party garnering 12.7 percent of nationwide support.

The votes of other opposition parties such as the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), DEVA and GP, stood at 7.9, 4.5 and 2.5 percent, respectively.

In the last general election, held in June 2018, the AKP garnered a nationwide vote of 42.6 percent. However, public surveys have increasingly been showing the party’s public support to be slipping.

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