PTI remains most popular party in Pakistan: report

Informed sources say vast popularity gap between PTI and PMLN in Punjab has started shrinking

Ansar Abbasi
January 02, 2024
Supporters of the Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan sit on scaffoldings to see their leader in Rawalpindi, Pakistan November 26, 2022. — Reuters

Some latest on-ground assessments about the standing of different political leaders and political parties still show Imran Khan and PTI as the most popular countrywide. Punjab has, however, started changing its mood.

Informed sources said that the vast popularity gap between PTI and PMLN in Punjab has started shrinking in favour of the latter. The difference in terms of their popularity, which was around 15% high for the PTI a few months back, has come down to around 5% in the province.

The countrywide popularity gap between the two leading political parties still shows PTI considerably far more popular than the PML-N. However, in the case of Punjab, PMLN has shown improvement and is close to giving good competition to the PTI in the general elections in the province.

These sources, while referring to the latest survey, said that the countrywide present popularity of the PTI is higher than its popularity in 2018, when the last general election was held. In the case of PMLN, the party’s popularity is less than where it stood in 2018.

It is believed that the PML-N’s post-April 2022 unpopularity in Punjab, which has been its stronghold, has seen improvement during the recent months and after the return of Nawaz Sharif from self-exile.

Next five weeks, before the Feb 8 general elections, are said to be critically important for the political parties as well as the voters. As the election campaign by the political parties will gain momentum with every passing day, it is said, that the voters’ trend will also change. The surveys and assessments about the election results become more relevant when done close to the polling day.

A survey conducted by Gallup in June-July last year, had shown that 38% respondents strongly like PTI, 16% strongly like PMLN, 10% strongly like PPP, 15% strongly like TLP, 9% strongly liked JI, 6% strongly like MQMP.

Among politicians, according to last year survey, the positive approval rating of Imran Khan was the highest at 60% followed by Saad Rizvi and Pervaiz Elahi 38% each, Shah Mehmood Qureshi 37%, Nawaz Sharif 36%, Shehbaz Sharif 35%, Maryam Nawaz 30%, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi 28% and others.

In Punjab, the positive approval rating of Imran Khan was 58%, Saad Rizvi 49%, Pervaiz Elahi 49%, Shah Mehmood Qureshi 43%, Shehbaz Sharif 43%, Nawaz Sharif 41%, Maryam Nawaz 37%, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi 33% and others. Bilawal Bhutto’s name is missing from the list because he was not assessed in the survey.