In the upcoming general elections, undecided voters or those reluctant to vote have emerged as a key battleground for political parties, surveys conducted by Gallup Pakistan and Pulse Consultant have revealed.
This group is at 20% in the latest poll conducted by Gallup compared with 26% for PML-N and 25% for PTI at the national level. Six months ago, this third block of voters was only 10%. While PML-N is the largest loser during this period, the undecided block is the largest gainer.
In the latest Poll by the Pulse Consultants, this group combined with those who do not intend to vote stands at 14% which makes them the fourth largest block after PTI at 30%, PML-N at 27% and PPP at 17%.
According to Gallup Pakistan, six months ago, PML-N was ahead of PTI in voting intentions by 8%. The situation remained largely unchanged through March/April. However, the gap has closed to merely 1% in the May/June measurement. The closure of the gap is owed to an 8% decline in the voting intention for the incumbent PML-N in the closing month of its five-year tenure in government.
In the poll conducted by Pulse Consultant, the situation for PML-N has worsened, over the last year. While PML-N was ahead of PTI in voting intentions by 13% in 2017, in 2018 they have dropped behind PTI by 3%.
Thus, according to Gallup Pakistan, while voting intentions for PTI remain largely static over the last 6 months, the PML-N decline by 8%, and the rise of undecided by 10%, has made the electoral contest neck and neck, between the incumbent PML-N and the challenger PTI. Although the Poll by Pulse Consultants shows undecided voters to decrease by 2% their sheer volume cannot be ignored.
According to Gallup Pakistan and Pulse Consultant forecast, the forthcoming election campaign and the mood of 20% of voters (according to Gallup) and 14% of voters (according to Pulse) who list themselves as “undecided” in May/June may turn the vote count on July 25 in favour of either of the top two contenders.
Note from Editor/Disclaimer: Gallup Pakistan survey conducted, May 01-June 06, 2018. Sample size N~3000 men and women. Error margin +-2 to 3% at 95% confidence level. Pulse survey conducted, May 13-28 2018. Sample size 3163. Error margin +-1.60% at 95% confidence level.
Surveys and polls are not always accurate but are useful in capturing trends. Surveys and polls results change as per events and as Election Day approaches. Gallup and Pulse survey were commissioned by Jang Group Editorial Board.