The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been ruling Turkey as a single-party government since 2002, would have received a nationwide vote of 23.3 percent, coming in second after the main opposition party, if a general election were to have been held last month, according to a survey conducted by the Eurasia Public Research Center (AKAM).
The poll results, announced on Saturday by AKAM President Kemal Özkiraz on social media, showed the ruling AKP falling behind the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which would have garnered 25.1 percent of the vote, with a historic low electoral support of 23.3 percent.
“It seems that electricity bills have hit Erdoğan and the AKP pretty hard. The AKP came in second, with the lowest electoral rate in its history,” Özkiraz said in a tweet while commenting on the results of the January poll his company conducted.
He was referring to electricity prices, which had been raised by around 50 percent for lower-demand households and more than 100 percent for high-demand commercial users in Turkey for 2022, sparking large protests in a number of cities.
According to the poll, based on phone interviews carried out between January 24-31 on 1,860 people in 26 provinces, the ruling AKP’s vote increases to 26.3 percent and support for the CHP reaches 28.4 percent when undecided voters, who represented 11.5 percent in the survey, are distributed among the parties.
While the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) received 12.9 percent of the vote in the January poll, the national opposition İYİ (Good) Party, an election ally of the CHP, garnered 12.4 percent, coming in fourth, the survey results also showed.
The survey further revealed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would have been defeated by each of his three potential rivals –- CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş –- in a possible presidential election scenario in which one of them is running against the incumbent president in January.
Kılıçdaroğlu receives 55.4 percent, İmamoğlu 60.8 percent and Yavaş receives 61 percent of the vote, according to the survey, while Erdoğan only garners 36.8, 36.7 and 33.9 percent, respectively, against each of them.
When asked about the policies of the AKP government in general, 63.4 percent said they were “unsuccessful,” while 9.1 percent said the policies were “partly successful” and 27.5 percent said they were “successful.”
In the last general election, held in June 2018, the AKP garnered a nationwide vote of 42.6 percent. However, public surveys have increasingly been showing the party’s public support to be slipping.
Erdoğan has been accused by his critics of creating a one-man rule and destroying the separation of powers under the presidential system, which went into force following a referendum in 2017, replacing the country’s parliamentary system and granting him vast powers while weakening parliament.