Dawn.com’s readers are politically vocal but at the same time don’t believe in severing ties over political affiliations, the results of our Political Party Perception Survey 2022 indicate.
The short, non-scientific survey, which we ran on the website from October 25-26, 2022, aimed to provide a snapshot view of the political beliefs and attitudes of a subset of Dawn.com’s Pakistani visitors.
More than 5,600 readers voluntarily took part in it over the two-day period, and a representative sample of (1,004 — 251 respondents for each group) was taken from the responses for analysis.
Most of the participants are from Pakistan (64 per cent); the rest (36pc) expatriates.
Nearly half of the participants (48pc) fall within the age range of 25-40, while 39pc are over 40. Thirteen per cent are under 25.
The questions in the survey sought to gauge which of the big three political parties — PTI, PML-N and PPP — the respondents supported, as well as their perceptions of the parties and their supporters.
We divided the responses into four groups: the supporters of the three major parties and those who said they supported none of them.
- Results suggest PTI supporters have stronger negative views about other parties and supporters
- PTI supporters more likely than others to have friends that share their political views
- PPP supporters are more tolerant of other political parties and their views
- Supporters of PPP and PML-N have more mixed views about the allied parties
- Other groups think PTI supporters are more close-minded than others
- PPP party disliked by all other groups
- PPP supporters believed to be dishonest and immoral by all other groups
How respondents perceive the political parties
Readers were asked to share how they feel about the three big political parties on a scale of 1 — very unfavourably to 5 — very favourably.
Respondents who say they support the PTI have an overwhelmingly unfavourable view about the PML-N and PPP, two pillars of the ruling alliance.
More than two-thirds of PTI respondents (67pc) say they view the PML-N very unfavourably, while more than a fifth (22pc) have an unfavourable view of the party. Unexpectedly, some 3pc hold favourable views of the party.
PTI backers have a much harsher view of the PPP, with 78pc seeing the party very unfavourably, and 14pc unfavourably. Around 2pc have favourable opinions of the party.
Unsurprisingly, PTI supporters have an overwhelmingly positive view of their own party, with 50pc seeing it very favourably, and 39pc favourably. About 3pc hold unfavourable views towards it.
A significant chunk of PML-N supporters perceives the PTI unfavourably, with 63pc holding very unfavourable views of the party, while 26pc have unfavourable views. A little over 3pc view the PTI favourably.
Nearly half of the PML-N supporters view coalition ally PPP poorly, with 30pc holding unfavourable views and 17pc holding unfavourable views.
More than a third (37pc) say they have neither favourable nor unfavourable views of the PPP. A little over 14pc have a favourable view, while 2pc hold very favourable views of the party.
Over 35pc of PML-N supporters hold very favourable views of their own party, while 42pc have favourable views. About 3pc hold unfavourable views of the party.
More than half (57pc) of PPP’s supporters hold very unfavourable views of the PTI, and 26pc of them view Imran Khan’s party unfavourably. Of the two coalition allies, PPP backers hold comparatively favourable views of the PTI at 6pc. More than 11pc view the party neither favourably nor unfavourably.
On the PML-N, 12pc of PPP supporters view the party very unfavourably and 28pc of them see them unfavourably. A significant portion — 44pc — say they view them neither favourably nor unfavourably. Fifteen per cent see the PML-N favourably, while none of them have very favourable views of the party.
About 38pc of PPP supporters view their own party very favourably and 41pc favourably. A little over 15pc hold neither favourable nor unfavourable views of the party, while 6pc see it unfavourably.
Those who support none
A vast majority of the respondents who support no party view all three parties very unfavourably. Of the three parties, the PPP is the worst performer for this group of respondents. Over 53pc see PPP very unfavourably and 24pc unfavourably.
Similarly 35pc the respondents in this group view both the PML-N and PTI very unfavourably. Significant numbers of this group also see the three parties unfavourably (23.9pc PPP and PTI, 34.6pc PML-N).
Opinions on supporters of political parties
Respondents were asked to share how they view supporters of political parties — including their own if they support any — picking attributes that they felt applied.
The attributes were open-minded, honest, moral, intelligent, close-minded, dishonest, immoral, unintelligent, and none of the above.
PTI supporters see PML-N backers as ‘close-minded’, PPP’s as ‘dishonest’
PTI backers feel supporters of PML-N (in descending order) are close-minded (68pc), unintelligent (55pc), dishonest (53pc) and immoral (47pc). A minority feel PML-N loyalists are intelligent (10pc), moral (5pc), open-minded (4pc) and honest (3pc). About 6pc feel none applied.
A majority of PTI supporters also hold PPP backers in low regard, but along a different metric: they feel they are dishonest (67pc) and immoral (58pc). They also feel they were unintelligent (55pc) and close-minded (54pc).
Naturally, PTI backers think their fellow supporters are open-minded (64pc), honest (58pc), moral and intelligent. However, 14pc think they are close-minded.
PML-N backers see PTI supporters as close-minded, PPP’s as open-minded
A significant number of respondents who support the PML-N see PTI backers as close-minded (73pc), unintelligent (50pc), immoral (44pc) and dishonest (32pc).
PML-N backers have mixed opinions of PPP supporters. Over 36pc think they are open-minded, but 22pc believe they are close-minded. Similarly, 21pc of them think PPP supporters are intelligent and an equal amount of them think the opposite.
Similar observations can be made with regard to morality, with PML-N supporters thinking PPP backers as marginally more immoral than moral (13pc and 12pc respectively).
Like PTI supporters, PML-N supporters (20pc) think PPP backers are dishonest. Conversely, 6pc think they are honest.
PPP supporters see PTI’s and PML-N’s backers as close-minded, unintelligent
Seventy-three per cent of participants who said they are PPP backers believe PTI supporters to be close-minded. A majority (54pc) think PTI followers are unintelligent.
A little over a third (36.65pc) see PTI followers as immoral, while 27.5pc believe them to be dishonest.
A smaller but significant number (42pc) of PPP backers see PML-N followers as close-minded, while 29pc think Nawaz’s party loyalists lack intelligence. More PPP supporters think PML-N supporters were immoral (27pc) than moral (10pc).
Those who don’t support any party think PTI backers most close-minded, PPP’s most dishonest
About 62pc of respondents believe that PTI supporters are close-minded — the highest of the three parties. In the same metric, 48pc of people think PML-N backers are close-minded, while 36pc believe PPP supporters are close-minded.
PML-N supporters are considered to be the most unintelligent lot by this group, with 43pc voicing as much. PTI supporters follow close behind (42pc). Thirty-nine per cent believe PPP backers are unintelligent.
Supporters of the PPP are thought to be more dishonest compared to backers of the other two parties, with 45pc of this group thinking so. At the same time, PPP supporters are believed to be the most open-minded (18pc) and intelligent (16pc) compared to PTI’s (9pc) and PML-N’s (7pc).
More people of this group think PPP supporters (37pc) were immoral compared to the PTI (22pc) and PML-N (31pc).
On sharing opinions about Pakistani politics
Readers were given a series of statements to agree or disagree from. Responses were on a scale of 1— strongly disagree to 5 — strongly agree.
Participants that support political parties are fairly vocal about their views of Pakistani politics.
The most vocal group are PPP supporters, with 35pc strongly agreeing with the sentiment ‘I often share my views on Pakistani politics’. Another 31pc agree. Cumulatively, they account for 66pc of this group.
Coming in a close second are PTI supporters — of whom 63pc (cumulatively) agree that they often share their views on Pakistani politics. Similarly, a majority of PML-N backers (cumulatively over 61pc) agree.
Those who support no party are the least vocal, 27pc of whom neither agreed nor disagreed with the sentiment. About 44pc agreed while 29pc disagreed.
Ideological congruence among friends
On the question ‘*Most of my close friends share my political views’*, PTI supporters appear to be more likely to believe that to be the case.
A fifth of them strongly agrees (20pc), while 38pc agree. This accounts for a cumulative 58pc. A significant number (28pc) of PTI supporters neither agree nor disagree. Just 9pc disagree and 5pc strongly disagree.
Significantly, PML-N’s and PPP’s supporters don’t share PTI backers’ sentiment on the question.
Just 8pc of PML-N backers strongly agreed, while 20pc agreed (28pc cumulative). Of PPP supporters, 12pc strongly and 17pc agree (29pc cumulative).
Moreover, 29pc of both PML-N’s and PPP’s supporters disagree, while 13pc and 15pc, respectively, strongly disagree.
Over 30pc of PML-N’s backers neither agree nor disagree, and 29pc of PPP’s feel the same way.
A third of those who don’t support any of the parties neither agree nor disagree, while 23pc disagreed and 16pc strongly disagreed. About 10pc strongly agreed while 18pc agreed.
Getting into political arguments
While a majority of respondents say they are vocal about their political views, not many of them have frequent political arguments.
About 26pc of PTI supporters say they disagree with the statement ‘I get into political arguments frequently’, while 16pc strongly disagreed with it. The cumulative share of disagrees amounted to 42pc.
Fewer than a third of this group say they neither agreed nor disagreed with it, while 16pc say they agreed and 14pc strongly agreed (cumulatively 30pc).
The results show similar sentiments among both the PML-N (27pc disagree, 16pc strongly disagree) and PPP (24pc disagree, 14pc strongly disagree).
PPP followers are comparatively more likely to agree with the statement than others, 17pc of whom strongly agreed, and 23pc agreed.
Notably, those who support none of the parties are almost twice as likely than others to strongly disagree (29pc) with the sentiment, while another 31pc disagreed with it. Cumulatively, they account for 60pc of the group’s responses. A little over a fifth neither agreed, nor disagreed with the sentiments.
Living in a place where people’s political views match
A majority of respondents in all four groups disagreed with the statement ‘*It’s important for me to live in a place where most people share my political views*’.
Relatively fewer of PTI’s supporters (cumulatively 54pc) are in disagreement compared to the other two parties (60pc PML-N and 58pc PPP). The group that didn’t support any political party notably disagreed the most with the statement — 37pc strongly disagreeing and 29pc disagreeing.
In those who chose neither agree nor disagree, PTI backers (29pc) have the largest ratio followed by the PPP’s (27pc). PTI supporters are also marginally more likely to agree with the sentiment — 9pc strongly agreeing and 8pc agreeing — than the other groups (PML-N 7pc strongly agree and 9pc agree; PPP 7pc strongly agree and 7pc agree; None 3pc strongly agree and 6pc agree).
Friends no more?
A key revelation of this survey is that respondents across all four groups were overwhelmingly against cutting ties with others over their political views.
PPP supporters disagree the most with the statement, with 74pc in strong disagreement and 13pc in disagreement, cumulatively accounting for 87pc of the group’s respondents. Significant numbers of those who backed no party also disagree (70pc strongly disagreeing and 13pc disagreeing). After those two came the PML-N’s backers, 68pc of whom strongly disagreed with the sentiment, followed by PTI’s 60pc.
To marry or not to marry
Another key finding of this survey is that the majority of our respondents seemed to not have a problem with close family members marrying supporters of rival parties.
Here, PPP supporters make up the largest share of those who strongly disagreed with the statement, at 71pc. Those who didn’t support any party make up the second-largest share in this respect — 67pc strongly disagreed — followed by 65pc of PML-N backers and, finally, 58pc of the PTI’s.
Of the few who do agree, PTI’s supporters are relatively in greater numbers than other groups. Here, they make up 10pc of those who strongly agreed, and 7pc of those who agreed. Notably, 8pc of those who supported no party strongly agreed with the statement and 5pc agreed. Cumulatively, PPP and PML-N’s were below 10pc.
Targeted and persecuted
The three respondent groups who supported political parties all believed that the parties they support have been targeted and persecuted.
Of the three groups, 52pc of PTI’s supporters strongly agreed with the statement, and another 30pc agreed, cumulatively accounting for 82pc of the group’s responses. This is followed by 51pc of PPP’s supporters who strongly agreed and 26pc who agreed, totalling 77pc. About 47pc of PML-N’s backers strongly agreed and 29pc agreed, accounting for 76pc of PML-N respondents.
Parties a threat to Pakistan for some
To the statement ‘The parties opposed to the one I support are a threat to Pakistan’, a large portion of PTI supporters stand out for being in agreement. Thirty-seven per cent of PTI’s respondents strongly agreed with the characterisation, and another 22pc agreed, accounting for 59pc of participants who said they support the party.
An aggregate 36pc of the PML-N’s supporters and 19pc of the PPP’s agree with the statement.
On the other hand, most of PPP’s supporters (cumulative 61pc) and nearly half of PML-N’s (cumulative 48pc) disagreed with the statement. Twenty-five per cent (cumulatively) of PTI’s supporters disagreed.
Much more charitable with supporters
Respondents were much more charitable about the supporters of political parties they are opposed to. Most of the respondents disagreed that the supporters of parties they are opposed to are a threat to Pakistan.
PTI followers, who make up the largest share of the previous section, largely disagree (cumulatively 58pc). It is PPP supporters, however, who are the most tolerant of supporters of opponent parties — accounting for 64pc of those who disagreed with the sentiment. Most of PML-N supporters, too, disagreed (55pc).
Prosperity if everyone backs my party?
PTI supporters here stand out once again, for believing that Pakistan would prosper if the entire country supported their party.
Thirty-seven per cent of PTI supporters strongly agree, and another 26pc agree, cumulatively making up nearly two-thirds of the party’s respondents.
Other party responses are more divided: fewer than half of PML-N’s backers (48pc cumulative) agreed with the sentiment, while a a little over a third of PPP’s agreed (38pc). About one third of PPP’s followers (33pc) were those who neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement.
PPP backers also account for the largest chunk of those who disagreed with the statement (28pc disagreeing in all), followed closely behind by PML-N’s 27pc. PTI’s supporters were 19pc in disagreement.
Disclaimer: Dawn.com’s Political Party Perception Survey 2022 was designed to gauge public sentiment regarding political parties and their supporters. Participation was voluntary and open to all visitors to Dawn.com from October 25 to October 26, 2022. The sampled responses may not be representative of the larger population. The decimal spaces in the percentage values have been rounded off in the text.