The Vote to Elect the Iranian President
Three interesting developments in the past three days is that 1 – number of votes of Hassan Rouhani is increasing; 2- the number of votes of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is decreasing; and 3 – there is a significant increase in the number of those who do not wish to disclose their vote. Two days after the last presidential debate, the IPPO poll shows that Rouhani is leading and has slightly increased his distance from his two main opponents: Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Ebrahim Raisi.
In the past three days 56% of those who say: 1) they will definitely or likely participate in the May 2017 election and 2) are inclined to vote for one of the six running candidates, have voted for Hassan Rouhani as their first choice. After Rouhani, Raisi stands with 23% of the votes replacing Ghalibaf’s older position as the runner-up. Ghalibaf now stands in the third position with 19% of the respondents’ votes (see the above chart).
The growth rate of respondents that do not wish to disclose their vote is noteworthy. In terms of patterns, according to the polls the increase in the number of those who do not wish to disclose their vote somewhat corresponds to 1 – the decrease in both Rouhani and Ghalibaf’s votes; 2 – the relational decrease of the number of undecided voters and 3 – and a decrease in the number of those who name candidates that are not on the list (the common phenomenon of spoiled ballots in Iranian elections; some voters choose to vote for names that are not on the ballots, including names of celebrities, dissidents, politicians who are not running, etc… ). This pattern shows that the undecided voters and those who do not wish to disclose their vote have gradually reached a decision but they have joined ranks with those who have all along said they are voting for one of the candidates but are not willing to disclose their vote (the chart below).
Besides the figures and the polls, from an analytical perspective the increase in the number of those who do not wish to disclose their vote can be related to the level of political anxiety and fear. There is the possibility that due to the rising level of political agitation, the respondents are fearful of disclosing their final decision and as such they are not willing to reveal their vote. If this is the case, the question is who are the respondents afraid of? Finding the answer to this question can explain which forces are intimidating these respondents and it can possibly account for the political affiliations of those who are hiding their votes (i.e. Are they Rouhani, Raisi or Ghalibaf supporters?)