ISLAMABAD: Majority of electorates in constituencies where by-elections are being held on Sunday (today) were in favour of early general elections, while more than one-fourth of them believed Election Commission, provincial and federal governments are partisan.

This was the findings of an opinion poll conducted by Pattan on Oct 13 and 14 at 186 constituencies of the by-election areas. On an average, 16 polling areas of each by-poll constituency participated in the survey.

According to the opinion poll, 12pc of the respondents believed the July 17 by-polls were not held in a free and fair manner. Besides, a significant majority of the voters were likely to vote for PTI on Sunday (today).

Moreover, a large majority of voters has failed to check registration of vote on roll and allocation of polling station, by usage of 8300, due to high cost and restricted use of SMS packages of some mobile phone companies.

Regarding holding of general election earlier, overall 55pc of respondents were likely to favour to have early election, while 60pc of PTI supporters and 52pc of PDM voters also favoured the early election demand.

Due to repeated postponement of by-elections, some voters appeared to have lost interest in polling. Resultantly it may become responsible factor for reduction in turnout today (Sunday). As far popularity of contesting parties, overall, the respondents from 60pc locations were likely to vote for PTI, while 31pc opted for PDM supported candidates. Only six percent opted for TLP, while one percent said they would vote for Jamaat-i-Islami.

The respondents were also asked to which party they had voted for in general election 2018. Fifty one percent had voted for PTI in 2018, while 23pc had voted for PML-N, which appears to have reduced to just 10pc.

To gauge freeness and fairness of the conduct of by-elections, Pattan probed opinions of the participating respondents. As many as 16pc reported usages of illegal means to increase vote bank such as distribution of cash, gifts, and intimidation, etc. More than 10pc also believed that elections were not held fairly and freely, while 26pc reported initiation of some kind of development project in constituencies.

Regarding usage of 8300 to check registration of vote on roll and allocation of polling station, a large majority appeared to have failed due to high cost, restricted use of SMS packages of some cell phone companies.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2022

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