ISTANBUL (Reuters) – More and more Turks now believe an opposition alliance is better suited than President Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AKP party (AKP) to end the economic turmoil that has engulfed their country, according to a series of opinion polls released this month.
Under pressure from Erdogan and despite high inflation, the central bank has cut interest rates by 500 basis points since September, triggering a currency crisis that saw the pound lira drop last month to 18.4 to one. dollar, its lowest level on record.
Inflation has peaked at 36% in 19 years, seriously eroding incomes, especially of working Turks and the lower middle class who form the electoral base of the Islamist-born AKP.
The government has introduced fiscal measures to ease the currency’s volatility, but the pound is still 46% weaker than a year ago and Erdogan, who wants to boost exports and credit, has refused to change course despite growing public discontent.
Political cartoons about world leaders
Metropoll Research polls show Erdogan’s approval rating, who has ruled Turkey for 19 years and faces elections by mid-2023, is lowest since 2015, at 38.6% . His popularity is lower than that of three potential presidential rivals, they show.
A poll by the Sosyo Politik Field Research Center puts support for the AKP at 27%, compared with 37% who said they voted for the party in the last parliamentary elections in 2018. AKP’s nationalist ally in parliament, the MHP, was at 6.3%, against 7.3% who said they voted for the party in 2018.
The main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) had 22.9% support and its ally IYI 10.3%, while the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had 9.4%. Over 11% were undecided.
An ORC Research poll conducted last week showed support for AKP-MHP to be 38.7%, lagging behind CHP-IYI by 39.5%. Support stood at 8.4% for the HDP, which informally backed the opposition coalition in the 2019 municipal elections which saw the AKP lose control of Istanbul and Ankara, the most major cities of Turkey.
About two-thirds of those polled told Sosyo Politik that the economy was Turkey’s biggest problem. More than half said recent government measures would not improve the economy.
A second Metropoll survey showed that 36.7% believed that the opposition coalition was best placed to manage the economy compared to 35.4% for the AKP-MHP.
Around 38% of those polled said they admire Erdogan – who received over 52% in the 2018 presidential election – while the mayor of Ankara Mansur Yavas and the mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu, both of the CHP, obtained 60% and 51% respectively.
IYI party leader Meral Aksener was at 38.5%.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Gareth Jones)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.