The Vote to Elect the President:
Even though about 57% of those who say they will 1) definitely or probably participate in the elections and 2) will vote for one of six prospective candidates up to the present time have chosen Hassan Rouhani as their first choice, his votes have slightly decreased in the past two days. Ebrahim Raisi however has gained some momentum and his votes have increased considerably from 11% to 16%. Ishaq Jahangiri’s votes have also decreased in the past three days much like Rouhani’s. The votes of the three other candidates, Ghalibaf, Mir-Salim and Hashemitaba have not changed significantly in the past three days. In the past three days, the numbers of undecided voters has decreased. Perhaps part of the decrease in the undecided vote can be observed in the increase of Ebrahim Raisi’s vote.
Based on the current polls margins of error (between 3 to 4 percent), it is early to speculate about the changes to rankings and vote percentages. As the process of polling advances and as more polling results become available, we may be able to observe reliable patterns to analyze.
Second Choice Voter Preferences
Respondents were asked: “if you were to change your minds before the Election Day, who else will you vote for instead of your first choice?” Aside from the undecided (19%) and those who do not have a second choice (20%) Ghalibaf, Rouhani, Raisi, and Jahanigiri are the four candidates that the respondents have chosen as their second choice in a descending order; they follow each other closely in ratings.
The Most Unfavorable Candidate
Most respondents prefer not to indicate which candidate is so unfavorable that they will not vote for him under any circumstances. In other words, almost 50% of the respondents either say that no one among the candidates is the most unpopular or that they cannot or do not wish to name the most unfavorable candidate.
The ranking for the most unfavorable candidate is similar to the ranking of the most favorable candidate. The highest rating of unfavorability is of Hassan Rouhani with 9% and after him Ghalibaf (4%) and Raisi (%3). Jahangiri with less that 1% of the unpopularity vote stands as the least unfavorable candidate.
Respondents’ Prediction vs. Inclination towards a Candidate
The pattern of respondents’ prediction of the election outcome does not differ greatly from their first choice candidate rankings. Respondents who predict Rouhani as having a greater chance of being the next Iranian president are about 48% more than those who intend to vote for him. In contrast, the proportions of those who predict victory for Ghalibaf are 50% less than those who intend to vote for him. The ratio of respondents’ prediction contra inclination towards a candidate Ebrahim Raisi is 30%.
Voter Turnout: Participation in the Elections
Around 73% of respondents say they are likely or very likely to vote in the May 2017 presidential election. In contrast, 14% say there is little chance or very little chance that they will participate in the elections. Besides the 7% of respondents that say they are somewhat likely to participate in the elections, 5% of the respondents have not yet reached a decision with regards to participation.
Projections of election participation rates in polls such as this one does not neatly translate to voter turnout rate on the day of the election. Projections of the voter turnout in polls are often more than the actual turnout on the day of the election; this is not unique to the Iranian context and is relevant to all pre-election polling.
Following Presidential Debates
Following of the presidential debates divides the respondents to two groups of relatively same weight. About half of the respondents say they have followed the election debates and half of them say that they have not been following the debates. 47% of respondents have watched the debates and 2% of them have listened to the audio broadcasting of the debates.
The Most Important Problems and Priorities
In order to have an understanding of the priorities of issues that the prospective president should tackle, we asked the respondents: “if you were the president what would be the first problem facing the country that you will take on?”
As expected, the first ranking issue that about 39%respondents mentioned is the problem of unemployment. Next are the problems that the youth face with concerns of the 17% of the respondents. Economic issues, including inflation and high costs of living ranks third in the set of priorities that the respondents mentioned.
THIS POLLING WAS CARRIED OUT AT A NATIONAL LEVEL IN IRAN FROM 5 MAY 2017 TO 8 MAY 2017 AND REPORTED ON A FOUR-DAY ROLLING AVERAGE BASIS.
THE INTERVIEWS WERE CONDUCTED VIA PHONE. INTERVIEWERS WERE TRAINED – BOTH FOR GENERAL SKILLS OF PHONE POLLING AND FOR THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF THIS SURVEY.
THE INTERVIEWERS WERE SELECTED POST TRAINING AFTER PASSING AN INTERVIEWING SKILLS EXAM.
THE SAMPLE SIZE WAS 1076 IRANIANS, 18 YEARS AND OLDER, WHO WERE RESIDING IN IRAN AND WERE SELECTED RANDOMLY.
SAMPLING METHODOLOGY IS A TWO-STAGE PROPORTIONAL SAMPLING. IT’S ON THE BASIS OF EACH OF THE SERVICE OPERATORS’ MARKET SHARE AND THEN SIMPLE RANDOM SAMPLING.
ASSUMING MAXIMUM VARIATION, THE RESULTS OF THIS SURVEY CAN GENERALIZE TO THE WHOLE OF THE 18 YEARS AND OLDER IRANIAN (RESIDENT IN IRAN) WITH A MARGIN OF ERROR OF ±2.99 TO ±3.91 FOR THE 95% CONFIDENCE INTERVAL (BASED ON RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS).
THE DATA WERE WEIGHTED BASED ON THE LAST AVAILABLE NATIONAL IRANIAN CENSUS (2011) WITH GENDER, AGE GROUP AND PLACE OF RESIDENCE (URBAN/RURAL) AS WEIGHTING VARIABLES.
FARSI NATIVE SPEAKING INTERVIEWERS CONDUCTED THE INTERVIEWS DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS, LOCAL TIME.
THE RESULTS OF EACH INTERVIEW WAS ASSESSED TWICE BY THE INTERVIEWER AND THE SUPERVISING TEAM – IN TERMS OF RESPONDENT’S TRUST IN THE INTERVIEWER AND THE INTERVIEWER’S ASSESSMENT OF THE RESPONDENTS’ HONESTY.
THOSE RESPONDENTS WHO HAD RECEIVED VERY LOW SCORES FOR TRUST AND HONESTY HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE RANDOM SAMPLE.