Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Iran Presidential Poll

OK, here I've finally seen a comprehensive poll by a respected group:
"In face-to-face questioning of more than 4,500 people nationwide, ISPA teams found that support for front-runner Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has dropped from 35 percent to 21.7 percent in recent weeks.

"Mr. Rafsanjani's closest challenger, former national police chief Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, stands at 14.4 percent, while the reform candidacy of Mustafa Moin has jumped from 5.5 percent support to 11.5 percent.

"The results spell a second-round run-off with more than 21 percent of voters undecided. ISPA estimates a low turnout of 50 percent, that could grow to 66 percent on Friday."

In watching all this, however, keep in mind that Iranian voters have a way of not behaving as expected. For example, Mo'in could easily catch Qalibaf based on these numbers, and then we'd have a liberal vs. conservative pragmatist run-off as opposed to a conservative pragmatist vs. hard-liner. That could make things fairly interesting. At the same time, I don't want to underestimate Rafsanjani's ability to underperform on Election Day, as he did when he snuck in Parliament.


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