Turkey’s undecided voters are leaning towards opposition alliance

Undecided voters in Turkey are most likely to favour the opposition Nation Alliance over the governing coalition, a leading pollster said on Wednesday.

Asked which electoral coalition they would choose if an election were held at the end of this week, 34.6 percent of undecided voters said they were closer to the Nation Alliance, according to Metropoll founder Özer Sencar.

A further 5.3 percent of unaligned voters said they preferred neither of the country’s main political blocs but felt closer to the Nation Alliance comprising the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the nationalist Good Party (İP), and the smaller Islamist Felicity Party (SP).

Just under 28 percent of undecided respondents opted for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) coalition known as the People’s Alliance, Sencar said. Of these, 25.6 percent expressed a preference for the government parties, with a further 2.3 percent saying they felt closest to the alliance.

Turkey’s highly polarised politics mean undecided voters are likely to play a crucial role at the next parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for 2023.

The People’s Alliance won a combined 54 percent of the vote in 2018, with a 43 percent and 11 percent vote share for the AKP and MHP respectively.

However, the government’s popularity has fallen amid persistent economic issues including high levels of unemployment and inflation, as well as a series of record lows in the value of the lira.

Speaking to news outlet Bianet last month, Sencar said support for the AKP had dropped from 42.6 percent to 34.1 percent in the last three years as the impact of poor economic performance began to bite.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s personal standings, long a bulwark of his party’s popularity, have also taken a blow. Research by Metropoll in May found the president would likely lose a run-off against three of the country’s most prominent opposition figures including Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu of the CHP.

But there are signs the opposition has yet to fully capitalise on growing popular frustrations. More than 32 percent of undecided voters were still unable to give a preference for either alliance, Sencar said.