İstanbul mayor İmamoğlu leads against Erdoğan in opinion poll

Ekrem İmamoğlu, who became a figurehead for Turkey's political opposition by winning an election for Istanbul mayor this year, is more favoured than President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to become the next president, according to an opinion poll by PIAR.

A total of 44.5 percent of participants said they would vote for İmamoğlu compared to 39.7 percent who said they would support Erdoğan if Turkey held a presidential election today, Artı Gerçek news site reported citing the PIAR poll.

Erdoğan won 52.54 percent of the national vote, while the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate, Muharrem İnce, received 30.68 percent support in the country’s 2018 presidential election.

İmamoğlu became the mayor of Turkey’s largest city in a landslide victory in a June revote, dealing a major blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which along with its Islamist predecessor had ruled the city for 25 years.

Since stepping into office as the mayor of Turkey’s financial hub, where Erdoğan launched his political career, İmamoğlu has made waves with his pledge to do away with wasteful municipal spending of the AKP.

Conducted with 2,416 people in 26 provinces throughout Turkey between Nov. 19-24, the survey found that 31.9 percent would vote for Erdoğan’s AKP in a general election, compared to 24.7 percent who would cast their ballot for the main opposition secularist CHP.

Turkey’s ruling AKP won 42.6 percent of the votes in the 2018 general elections, while the CHP received 22.6 percent support, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) 11.7 percent and AKP-ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 11.1 percent.

The PİAR survey found that the MHP received 10.6 percent, the pro-Kurdish HDP 10.2 percent and the centre-right Good (İYİ) Party 9 percent support.

Meanwhile, 7.7 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for the party expected to be formed by former Erdoğan ally and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan. Another 3.4 percent they would vote for the upcoming AKP rival party to be formed by Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Babacan and Davutoğlu are among a number of former AKP heavyweights who have parted ways with the Islamist Party. Both have rolled up their sleeves to form new political movements amid growing discontent over AKP policies and Turkey’s one-man rule.