CHP voters disillusioned with new party, leader and life

CHP voters disillusioned with new party, leader and life

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

November 23, 2011, Wednesday/ 16:28:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Republican People's Party (CHP) voters are unhappy about the lack of success of their party in the general elections and blame its new leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, for the failure, a recent poll conducted by MetroPoll has found.

The poll, conducted in the first two weeks of November among 1,705 respondents in city centers, districts and villages of 44 provinces across the country, found that CHP voters are disillusioned not only with the lack of success of the CHP in the elections but also with the overall direction the country is headed. They also reported a lower sense of enjoyment in life. The respondents included people who usually vote for left-wing parties, and those who usually vote fort he CHP.

Dissatisfaction with their lives reported 44.1 percent of the respondents, while 32.6 percent said they were happy with their lives. A higher level of dissatisfaction was reported among CHP voters than among the sample population that also includes non-CHP left-wing voters.

To the question whether they believed Turkey was progressing toward a better future or drifting toward a worse state 74.3 percent of the CHP voters who responded to the survey said they answered “worse.” Only 22.6 percent of all the respondents said Turkey was changing for the better.

The CHP was either successful or partially successful in the June 12, 2011 elections said 45.8 percent of the respondents while 53 percent said the CHP had been unsuccessful. The percentage of those who responded that the CHP was unsuccessful was higher among the younger respondents in the survey, which led researchers to conclude that this might indicate that expectations from the party are higher among younger age groups.

The local CHP branches didn't work hard enough before the June 12 elections said 54 percent of the respondents, while 46 percent said the blame for lack of success falls on the central administration headed by CHP's new leader Kılıçdaroğlu.

The CHP voter base, the pollsters say, finds the leader partially more successful and effective in comparison with the party's local branches and central administration. Over half of the respondents, 53 percent, said Kılıçdaroğlu has been successful as a leader, while 36 percent said they didn't agree. The pollsters, thus, concluded, “… The confidence felt toward Kılıçdaroğlu is remarkably higher than the amount of confidence felt toward the structural party organizations.” However, 17 percent of CHP voters said Kılıçdaroğlu's leadership was the main reason for the party's election failure, followed by the party's detachment from the people and infighting as the second biggest factors in its lack of electoral success.

The CHP has been the main opposition party since 2002. According to MetroPoll's survey, 53 percent of the party's voters find that it has been an effective opposition party while 44 percent didn't agree.

Representativeness of CHP

More than half of the respondents, 56.4 percent, said they didn't think the CHP was a representative of the left and social democrats, which MetroPoll researchers say is a serious problem as the party defines itself as a left/social democratic political party. Only 58 percent of the respondents said they felt the CHP was close to the people, which is a low percentage in the case of a left-wing party.

In response to the question whether the party's local branches worked in harmony with the central organization, 53.4 percent said no. In fact, as MetroPoll researchers noted, the CHP has been rattled with a number of controversial rows between its members that have become public over the past few days, such as the allegations of a CHP deputy that the 1937 Dersim massacre was planned and orchestrated by the CHP, which governed at the time. The row continued with a group of nationalistic CHP deputies demanding his expulsion, and public disagreement over the issue of conscientious objection.

A change in leadership of the CHP might enable the party to return to the government, said 54.6 percent of the respondents. As it is, 39.5 percent voters say they still have hope that the CHP might get elected as a single-party government. The percentage of those who have hope that the CHP can form a single party government after a change of leadership is 55 percent whereas 40 percent of the respondents said they didn't believe even a change in leadership could bring the party to power.

In response to a question on who the voters would like to see as the party's leader, the 55 percent who earlier said a change of leadership could mean success for the CHP, pointed to Mustafa Sarıgül (18.2 percent) as a preferred leader, with the second most preferred leader, Muharrem İnce, lagging behind Sarıgül at 5.3 percent. Only 3.7 percent said they would like to see former CHP leader Baykal come back to the helm of the party. The remaining 55.6 percent did not want to name a preferred candidate.

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