Polls Predict Unusually Low Turnout In Iran's Presidential Election | Iran International

Polls Predict Unusually Low Turnout In Iran's Presidential Election

As Iran's June presidential election draws closer, the media associated with politicians, factions and players come up with all sorts of genuine and fabricated poll results to make their points.

One of the latest polls in this area is the one referred to by ultraconservative daily Vatan-e Emrooz on Saturday April 17. The daily claimed it has access to the results of an opinion poll that indicate Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeesi and Majles Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf are the most popular candidates for the upcoming election.

The daily did not say when and where the poll was conducted, who ran it and how many people took part in it. Nor did the daily give away any other information about the opinion poll.

However, Raeesi has so far denied his candidacy and Ghalibaf has not confirmed any of the rumors that say he is going to stand in the election. A member of the hardliner parliament, Mohammad Javad Asgari on Sunday said that he believes Raeesi will announce his candidacy and other “revolutionary” candidates will pull out to support him.

Vatan-e Emrooz, has rightly said that in Iran opinion polls tend to bear more accurate results as the date for elections draws closer. So, based on the same argument, the poll referred to by the newspaper and those conducted by specialized polling agencies are likely to be less than accurate almost two months before the voting day.

But after three years of hard US sanctions, deep economic crisis and inflation, many say voter turnout is another important issue, as the regime needs to claim it is still relevant.

Semi-official news agency ISNA's polling organization ISPA has recently published the results of a poll it has conducted in March. According to ISPA, 48 percent of those taking part in the poll said they would certainly vote in the election and some 26.6 percent said they are still undecided about taking part in the election.

ISPA said 28.6 percent of those taking part in the poll said they believe voting in the presidential election will have a positive impact on solving the country's problems. This comes while 26.7 percent believed their vote will have no impact at all.

Meanwhile, former reformist lawmaker Mahmoud Sadeghi said on April 16 that based on another opinion poll he has access to, only between 24 to 28 percent of eligible voters are likely to take part in the election. Over 25 percent said they will not take part.

Sadeghi said that estimates made at the reform camp, one month before registration by candidates starts, predict a lacklustre election. 

Addressing the people's expectations from the next president, 31.2 percent of the 1583 respondents in ISP's poll said they expect the next president to restore justice in Iran. Some 20 percent said they expect the new president to restore Iran's ties with the international community.

Only 3.5 percent of those taking part in ISPA's poll said they expect an improvement in the situation of civil liberties.

Polls conducted outside Iran portray a more pessimistic picture of the prospects for the next Iranian presidential election. A poll conducted by Gamaan polling agency in the Netherlands in February indicated that only 12.1 percent of eligible voters will take part, while 77.9 percent have said they will certainly not vote in that election. Some 10 percent said they were undecided.

According to Gamaan more people are expected to vote in rural areas and people in the age group 30-49 years of age are more likely to vote in the presidential election.

Turnout in Iran's presidential elections have always been above 50 percent, reaching even 85 percent in 2009. But the latest parliamentary elections in February 2020 was marked by an extremely low turnout of around 25 percent.

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