20 pct of Istanbul’s devoutly religious support İmamoğlu - Konda research

Public opinion polling company KONDA Research and Consultancy’s report on the June 23 Istanbul re-vote shows voter transition between candidates and suggests significant shifts in favour of CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu, news website Bianet reported.

The leading pollster’s most recent estimate before the re-vote was 54 pct in favour of İmamoğlu, who did in fact win 54 pct of the vote in the mayoral re-run.

The company’s most recent report offers an insight into how the opposition candidate won the race in Turkey’s financial hub and most populous city.

The June 23 Ballot Analysis and Voter Profiles Report said two thirds of voters from the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP)’s far-right alliance partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), had refrained from voting for their candidate Binali Yıldırım.

This marks a steep decline from the March 31 elections, when around half of MHP voters backed Yıldırım.

The research also shows that at least 3.5 percent of the AKP’s base voted for the opposition candidate on June 23.

Another significant shift was seen among the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) voters, who had expressed 53 percent support for İmamoğlu on March 31. This number skyrocketed to 90 percent in the second vote.

The HDP had refrained from putting up a candidate in Istanbul as well as several western cities in Turkey as part of their election strategy before the March 31 vote. The party openly declared its support for the opposition candidate after Turkey’s Supreme Election Council ruled in favour of an appeal by the AKP demanding a rerun on claims of electoral fraud.

Roughly half of Kurdish voters in general had shown support for İmamoğlu before March 31, and their support rose to 62 pct for the re-vote.

Konda’s report found that Binali Yıldırım’s vote increased as religiosity of the voter increased, also noting that the category of religious conservative voters showed increased support for both Yıldırım and İmamoğlu for June 23, suggesting an increase in voter turnout.

Yıldırım won support from 3 percent of non-believers, while İmamoğlu won the votes of 20 pct of Istanbul’s devoutly religious population, who profess to fulfilling all religious obligationsand make up 10 pct of the general population.

Meanwhile, İmamoğlu’s support among voters from Turkey’s largest religious minority group,Alevis, rose from 77 percent to 87 percent on June 23.

Half of Felicity Party (SP) voters, who are generally religious, shifted their vote from the party’s own candidate Necdet Gökçınar to Ekrem İmamoğlu.

Young voters (aged 18 to 33) increased their support for İmamoğlu from 37 to 58 percent, while Yıldırım lost 6 percent of his support in the same demographic and only maintained hissupport among voters over 49 years old.

60 percent of high school graduates expressed support for Yıldırım, while 64 percent of higher degree holders (undergraduate and above) supported İmamoğlu.

Housewives, one of Yıldırım’s strongest voter bases, also partially shifted to İmamoğlu, who won 35 percent of their support as opposed to 22 percent in March.

Yıldırım also lost votes from workers and pensioners, whose support gradually decreased from polls conducted 6 months before the elections to March 31 and further down on June 23.

59 percent of Istanbul’s student voters, who make up 10 percent of the mega-city’s population in general, expressed support for Ekrem İmamoğlu.

The newly elected mayor also won the support of 58 pct of Istanbul’s unemployed.

According to the Konda report, followers of traditional media outlets showed distinct preferences from the section of the population who regularly read news from social media channels.

Audiences of pro-government television news networks A Haber, ATV and state-run TRT showed a much higher rate of support for Binali Yıldırım than both audiences who watch other networks and the general population.

Independent analysis from media rights group Reporters Without Borders found that the majority of Turkey’s television and print news outlets are controlled by businesses with links to the AKP government.

İmamoğlu’s lead among television audiences was limited to Fox TV and Halk TV but the CHP candidate enjoyed 65 percent support from Twitter users.

The 14 percent of the population who do not use the Internet at all showed increased support for Yıldırım, from 47 percent in March to 51 percent in June, a rare occurrence in the re-vote.