Turkey’s economic problems hurt Erdogan – polls

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  • Crumbling lira, rising inflation hit the Turks hard
  • Erode support for Erdogan, ruling AKP – polls
  • Erdogan’s rivals are pushing for popularity
  • Turkey faces presidential and parliamentary elections in 2023

ISTANBUL, Jan 11 (Reuters) – More Turks now believe an opposition alliance is better suited than President Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party (AKP) to end the economic turmoil that has gripped their country, according to a series of opinion polls that published this month.

Under pressure from Erdogan and despite high inflation, the central bank has cut rates by 500 basis points since September, triggering a currency crisis that saw the lira drop to 18.4 per dollar last month, the worst ever.

Inflation has soared to a 19-year high of 36%, which is seriously depressing incomes, particularly for working Turks and the lower middle class who make up the electorate base of the Islamist-rooted AKP.

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The government has taken fiscal measures to ease currency volatility, but the lira is still 46% weaker than a year ago, and Erdogan, looking to boost exports and credit, has refused to change course despite mounting public discontent.

Surveys by Metropoll Research show that the approval rating for Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 19 years and faces elections in mid-2023, is 38.6%, its lowest level since 2015. They show that his popularity lags behind that of three potential presidential rivals.

A poll by the Sosyo Politics field research center found 27% support the AKP, compared with 37% who said they voted for the party in the last general election in 2018. The nationalist ally of the AKP in parliament, the MHP, stood at 6.3%. versus 7.3% who said they voted for the party in 2018.

The largest opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) had 22.9% support and its ally IYI had 10.3%, while the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had 9.4%. More than 11% were undecided.

ECONOMIC CONSCIOUSNESS

A survey by ORC Research conducted last week showed that overall support from AKP-MHP was 38.7%, lagging behind CHP-IYI’s 39.5%. Support for the HDP stood at 8.4%, which informally supported the opposition coalition in the 2019 local elections, in which the AKP lost control of Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey’s largest cities.

Around two thirds of those questioned told Sosyo Politicians that the economy was Turkey’s biggest problem. More than half said the government’s recent actions would not improve the economy.

A second Metropoll poll found that 36.7% thought the opposition coalition was best placed to run the economy, compared with 35.4% for AKP-MHP.

Around 38% of respondents said they admired Erdogan – who won more than 52% in the 2018 presidential election – while Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, both from the CHP, 60% and 51 respectively % achieved.

The leader of the IYI party, Meral Aksener, was 38.5%.

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Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Gareth Jones

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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