RIWI’s Turkish Presidential Election Monitor

The Republic of Turkey is 100 years old this October and faces one of its most consequential presidential elections to date. The political changes orchestrated over the past 20 years of rule by President Erdoğan has led to the erosion of Turkey’s parliamentary democracy, a decline in the rule of law and checks on government, and a rise in religious nationalism and authoritarianism. The coalition behind the main opposition challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is campaigning to reverse the consolidation of presidential powers, suggesting to some experts that the May 14 elections may be the last chance to revert this democratic decline prior to it becoming a freefall.

Opinion polls in Turkey are also notoriously partisan and reports of social desirability bias in telephone polling complicate their reliability. Polls leading up to the 2018 presidential election predicted a much tighter race and likely runoff between Erdoğan and Muharrem İnce, which never materialized. Another runoff is anticipated this year, with main opposition challenger Kılıçdaroğlu polling ahead of the President but still within the margin of error for 50% of the votes required to win in the first round. Past RIWI success with polling in polarized electoral environments (including Brexit and the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections) has demonstrated the need for diverse sampling approaches and unique methodologies to accurately predict outcomes.

In order to elevate the voices left out of traditional polling methods and provide non-partisan insight into voter intentions and the key issues that drive them, RIWI is launching the Turkish Presidential Election Monitor for one month prior to the election. The Monitor, powered by RIWI’s anonymous web-intercept methodology, can better inform media, researchers, and financial institutions on citizen sentiment, which issues concern them the most, and trends among unlikely voters in an increasingly polarized environment. Questions can also be added to monitor for custom research and business insights.

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