Iran Official Poll Shows Lower Turnout After Elimination Of Key Candidates
A poll by the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) taken May 26-27 shows a drop of 7 percent in those saying they would “definitely vote” or "likely vote" in the June 18 presidential elections, down to 36 percent from 43 percent in a poll taken May 16-17.
The poll found 37.7 percent saying they would “definitely vote”, as well as 7.7 percent saying they were “likely to vote." But ISPA, a government agency reduced the total to 36 percent to allow for variables such as "conservatism of some respondents in answering pollsters on the phone" and "those who refuse to cooperate.”
The reluctance of many respondents to vote might be attributed to several factors, including the election watchdog Guardian Council's disqualification of several candidates most likely to challenge front-runner Chief Justice Ebrahim Raeesi (Raisi).
According to the latest ISPA poll, Raeesi had the backing of 43.9 percent of those saying they will vote or are likely to vote. Among the other six candidates, Mohsen Rezaei (Rezaee), the secretary of the Expediency Council, was second with 3.7 percent. But 48 percent of those definitely or likely to vote said they were still undecided about their candidate of chioce, an unusually high figure, showing perhaps their reluctance to admit they will not vote.
The IPSA figure of 43.7 percent saying they would definitely or be likely to vote is considerably higher than the 27 percent figure saying they were likely to take part, found by the telephone poll conducted for Iran International TV May 2-11 by Stasis, a research analytics and consulting firm based in the United States and focusing on Iran. That poll found 55 percent of respondents saying they would not vote.
Low turnout in elections will be seen as a lack of support for the country’s leadership. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has always cited high turnout as proof of the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy. The lowest presidential turnout was 54.6 percent in 1989.
The ISPA poll results appear optimistic compared with social media and readers' comments on news websites, and readers' ratings of posts and comments.
Readers gave 400 thumbs-down against 26 thumbs-up within 24 hours to a positive comment - "God willing, we will participate in the elections and invite others to do so" – on the text of a speech given by Khamenei Thursday in which he backed the list of candidates announced by the watchdog Guardian Council. Another comment pledging to “participate in the vote with all our might” drew 360 thumbs-down and 19 thumbs-ups.