Home Latest News Nawaz Sharif on Top in Punjab, but Imran Khan Still in Lead Nationwide: Gallup Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif on Top in Punjab, but Imran Khan Still in Lead Nationwide: Gallup Pakistan

Latest survey, conducted from mid-December to early January, finds voters divided between PTI and PMLN ahead of elections next month

by Staff Report

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A Gallup Pakistan ‘Political Weather Report’ has found that Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Nawaz Sharif now has a 60 percent approval rating in Punjab province, followed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan at 53 percent; Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq at 36 percent; and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at 34 percent.

The Gallup Pakistan survey had a sample size of around 5,000 men and women and combined a random digit dialing phone survey and face-to-face interviews. It has an error margin of 2-3 percent and had a roughly 85 percent response rate. Among the participants, 36 percent were from an urban locale, while 64 percent were from rural areas. Age-wise, 26 percent of respondents were under-30; 53 percent were 30-50 years old; and 21 percent were over 51 years old.


Noting the situation in Punjab was similar to that witnessed in the 2018 general elections—when PTI secured 36 percent of the popular vote to PMLN’s 35 percent—Gallup said 34 percent of surveyed voters in December had expressed an intent to vote for the PTI, while 32 percent had voiced the same for the PMLN. “The gap between the two parties is 2 percent, which is within the error margin of this survey and therefore statistically insignificant,” it said.

Referring to past surveys, Gallup said the gap between the PMLN and PTI had been “slowly but consistently” narrowing over the past 8 months. “In March 2023, within Punjab gap between PMLN and PTI was 21% with PTI in the lead. The gap is now around 2% in December 2023 surveys. In the crucial 30 days up to the election in February 2024, it would be important to see if the trend continues or is reversed,” it added. Within Punjab—which is considered key to forming the federal government due to its large population—Gallup said different regions showed varying support for the PTI and PMLN.

“PTI leads with reasonable margin in north Punjab over PMLN but is neck-to-neck in west and central Punjab,” it said, adding the PMLN appeared to have an edge in south Punjab, where the PPP also had reasonable support. “In central Punjab, TLP [Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan] has a spoiler vote. Since north Punjab is 10 percent of total Punjab seats, it is safe to say that electoral race is quite competitive,” it said.


In Sindh province, the PPP, which has been ruling the province for the past 15 years, remains the largest political party, with PTI in second place. “However, [PPP’s] support is less strong in Karachi region as opposed to Interior Sindh/rural Sindh,” it said. According to the survey results, 42 percent of voters in Sindh intend to vote for the PPP in the Feb. 8 polls; followed by 19 percent for PTI; 4 percent for PMLN and MQMP each; and 12 percent for other parties.


The PTI, which ruled KP for nine years, continues to command a majority of voter support in the province, but faces considerable challenges, per Gallup.

“45 percent of voters surveyed in KP in December 2023 claim that they would like to vote for PTI,” it said, noting this had increased from 37 percent who did so in the previous general elections. “Vote of parties other than PTI is concentrated in different electoral regions which can help them win seats despite lagging behind in terms of KP-wide popular vote,” it said, noting the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) had a “significant vote share” in south KP, while the PMLN had significant support in Hazara.

“An alliance between parties can therefore give a reasonable competition to PTI in various territories [of KP],” it said. According to the survey, 15 percent of voters intend to vote for the JUIF; 9 percent for PMLN; 7 percent for PPP and ANP each; 3 percent for JI; and just 2 percent for the PTI-Parliamentarians of Pervez Khattak.

National approval ratings

Nationally, per Gallup Pakistan, Imran Khan continues to retain his popularity, dropping from an approval rating of 60 percent to 57 percent between June and December 2023. Nawaz Sharif, meanwhile, has seen a significant boost to his approval rating, going from 36 percent in June to 52 percent in December.

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, meanwhile, has a 35 percent approval rating; Sirajul Haq 34 percent; Saad Hussain Rizvi 28 percent; Maulana Fazlur Rehman 27 percent; Jahangir Tareen 23 percent; and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui 16 percent.

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