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Survey Declares Nawaz Sharif as Most Popular Leader in Punjab

Gallup Survey Reveals Shifts in Political Landscape; PML-N Strengthens Position, Especially in Punjab

Islamabad: According to a recent Gallup Pakistan survey released on Thursday, Nawaz Sharif has emerged as the most popular leader in Punjab, marking a significant shift in political dynamics. The survey, conducted in June and December of the previous year, illustrates a noteworthy rise in Nawaz Sharif’s popularity since his return to Pakistan.

On a national level, Nawaz Sharif’s approval has increased from 36% in June 2023 to 52% in December 2023, while Imran Khan’s popularity has slightly declined from 60% to 57% during the same period. This trend suggests a shift in public sentiment towards Nawaz Sharif as a potential leader capable of forming the next government.

At the provincial level in Punjab, a key determinant in deciding the future prime minister, Nawaz Sharif outshines Imran Khan with a popularity rate of 60% compared to Imran’s 53%. The survey also identifies Jamaat-e-Islami’s emir, Sirajul Haq, as the third most popular leader in Punjab with a 36% approval rating, followed closely by Bilawal Bhutto at 34%, and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s Saad Rizvi at 31%. Maulana Fazlul Rehman and Jahangir Tareen secured 27% and 21% approval, respectively.

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A national-level assessment of leaders’ personal approval rates indicates a decline for most leaders surveyed, except for Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlul Rehman, and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui. Imran Khan’s rating decreased by 3%, while Saad Rizvi, Bilawal Bhutto, and Jahangir Tareen also experienced declines.

The overall mood suggests a neck-and-neck competition between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Punjab, with a marginal 2% gap. Given that Punjab holds more than half of the National Assembly seats, this narrowing gap could have significant implications for both parties’ electoral success.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), PTI’s approval has increased to 45% in 2024 from 37% in 2018, while the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) holds a 15% approval rate. PML-N follows with 9%, and Awami National Party (ANP) and PPP each with 7%. The alliance between JUI-F and PML-N in South KP and Hazara regions could potentially challenge PTI’s dominance in those areas, with similar dynamics in Malakand, where ANP and PPP have a significant vote bank.

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