Pew Survey Pakistan March 2013
Comparison between Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari
Pew Research Global Attitudes Project
Poll Results Released on May 7th, 2013
Subject – On Eve of Elections, a Dismal Public Mood in Pakistan
Asif Ali Zardari Popularity
According to the state of public opinion, incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari receives negative reviews: 83% express an unfavorable opinion of him.
Nawaz Sharif Popularity
In contrast, two-thirds have a positive view of opposition leader, and former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.
Imran Khan Popularity
Six-in-ten also have a positive opinion about former cricket star turned politician Imran Khan, although Khan’s ratings are down slightly from last year, when 70% rated him favorably.
These are among the major findings from a survey of Pakistan by the Pew Research Center. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 1,201 respondents from March 11 to March 31, 2013. The sample covers approximately 82% of the country’s adult population.1 The survey also finds continuing support for the Pakistani military, which for decades has been an important player in the country’s politics. Roughly eight-in-ten (79%) think the military is having a positive influence on the nation.
Sharif, Khan More Popular than Zardari
Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party (PML-N), is the most popular leader included on the survey, with a favorable rating from 66% of Pakistanis; roughly a quarter (26%) view him unfavorably. Sharif is particularly well liked in Punjab province (78%).
Imran Khan, leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI), is also popular – 60% are positive toward the former cricket star and fewer than two-in-ten (17%) hold a negative opinion of him. Nonetheless, Khan’s ratings have declined from their high point in 2012 and 2011, when roughly seven-in-ten Pakistanis were favorable toward him. While Khan’s popularity has decreased across the board, the drop has been especially steep among 18- to 29-year-olds, his strongest supporters in 2012 (63% favorable in 2013 vs. 76% in 2012).
President Zardari continues to be very unpopular. Few Pakistanis (14%) express favorable views of their leader, while more than eight-in-ten (83%) are unfavorable. Even among supporters of his political party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, or PPP, Zardari struggles to gain an advantage over Sharif. Just 53% of those who identify with the PPP are favorable toward Zardari, compared with 52% who give Sharif high marks.
Raja Pervez Ashraf, who stepped down as prime minister when the government finished its term in March 2013, also receives negative ratings. About half of Pakistanis (51%) give Ashraf a negative rating. Just 17% are favorable, and nearly a third (32%) express no opinion.
Meanwhile, ratings for General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry have been declining steadily over the past few years. In 2010, a majority of Pakistanis (61%) were favorable toward Kayani, the Army chief of staff; today, fewer than half (45%) give him a positive review. Similarly, about six-in-ten (61%) had a positive view of Chaudhry in 2009 and 2010, while just 43% say the same now.