Erdoğan rival enjoys popularity surge unseen since 1970's

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s main opponent in elections on June 24 is enjoying a surge in popularity, Birgun newspaper reported citing an opinion poll by SONAR.

Muharrem Ince, the candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has 31 percent of the vote, an increase of 10 percentage points compared with two weeks previously, according to the poll, which was conducted between May 29 and June 3 among 3,000 people in 26 provinces.

Such popularity for a CHP candidate hasn’t been seen since the 1970’s, Birgun said.

Still, while the poll predicted that Erdoğan will be forced into a run-off with Ince on July 8, Erdoğan is expected to win the ballot with 53.7 percent of the vote, SONAR said.

The polling company correctly predicted the result of presidential elections in 2015, Birgun reported.

SONAR works 'officially' as the pollster, commissioned by the CHP, in these elections.

SONAR said an alliance of Erdoğan’s party and a nationalist group will win 49.3 percent of the vote in concurrent parliamentary elections on June 24. A rival opposition grouping has 39.5 percent support and the pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party (HDP) has 10 percent, it said.

Observers of Turkey are beginning to speculate that while Erdoğan may win presidential elections in a second round, his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) will lose its legislative majority, creating an executive deadlock.

But Erdoğan can pass laws by decree under emergency rule in place since a failed coup in 2016. The Constitution allows him to continue doing so even if the state of emergency is ended.