Perceptible drop in Imran’s popularity, Nawaz Sharif leads in Pak provinces

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There is a perceptible drop in the popularity of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in an opinion survey, which also revealed that opposition PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif is leading in popularity ratings in Punjab province at 58 per cent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 46 per cent and Sindh 51 per cent, The News reported.

According to the survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan, Khan ranked second in popularity in KP with 44 per cent and third with 33 per cent popularity in Sindh and Punjab.

These opinion survey conducted from December 22, 2021 to January 31, 2022 solicited views of 5,000 people from across the country about the popularity of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Khan, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

In KP, Shehbaz Sharif’s popularity stood at 43 per cent, while Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari were tied at 24 per cent.

There was a significant reduction in the level of satisfaction with Khan in KP which has dropped from 67 per cent in February 2020 to 44 per cent in the current survey, while that of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari dropped from 26 per cent to 24 per cent.

However, in the case of Nawaz Sharif, his approval ratings increased from 33 per cent to 46 per cent and that of Shehbaz Sharif rose from 31 per cent to 43 per cent in KP.

In the case of Punjab, 58 per cent respondents approved Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, while 33 per cent approved Prime Minister Khan, 24 per cent Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and 21 per cent Asif Ali Zardari.

According to Gallup Pakistan, this was the first time that the popularity of the former Prime Minister rose after December 2018 and Nawaz Sharif managed similar ratings as that of Shehbaz Sharif.

But the popularity of Khan that rose to 51 per cent in 2018 has now dropped to 33 per cent. While that of PPP Chairman increased to 24 per cent from 18 per cent then.

About the response in Sindh, the pollster recorded 51 per cent popularity for Nawaz Sharif, 41 per cent for Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari secured 37 per cent, Khan 33 per cent, and Asif Ali Zardari managed 31 per cent.

In comparison to the 2018 Gallup Survey, the popularity of Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif rose from a mere 12 per cent to 51 per cent and 41 per cent, whereas that of Khan dropped from 33 per cent in 2018 to 10 per cent in February 2020, which has again risen to 33 per cent in the current survey.

But in the case of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the popularity ratings dropped in the home province from 54 per cent to 39 per cent and has now further dropped to 37 per cent, the report said.

(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.s@ians.in)

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