Majority Pakistanis (58%) support the NAB Court decision in Avenfield Reference Case against Nawaz Sharif, very few say they have changed their voting decision as a result of the decision. Gallup Pakistan National Public Opinion Poll
(Islamabad): In a nationally representative survey of Pakistanis conducted by Gallup Pakistan (the affiliate of Gallup International) , a majority of Pakistanis (58%) who have heard or read about the Avenfield Judgement which sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years jail, say the decision was correct; 42% said that the decision was wrong / incorrect. When the public opinion was sought about the sentence given to Maryam Nawaz, the support for the judgement grew to 61%; opposition dropped to 39%.
The survey was conducted between July 9th and 11th July 2018 with a sample of statistically chosen 1500 men and women from across the country covering all four provinces, urban and rural areas. The error margin for such a survey is between ±2 – 3% at 95% confidence level.
How many have heard or read about Avenfield Reference Case: 59% Pakistanis say they have heard or read about the Avenfield Judgement
Respondents were asked if they had heard or read about NAB Court decision sentencing Nawaz Sharif to 10 year imprisonment and Maryam Nawaz to 7 years imprisonment. In response to this question, 59% Pakistanis said they have read or heard about it, 27% said they have not heard about it, while 14% refused to answer this question.
Conspiracy or actually guilty? Majority feel Nawaz Sharif was actually guilty and there is no conspiracy against him
Furthermore, public opinion was sought on whether the decision in Avenfield reference case was a result of a conspiracy against Nawaz Sharif or whether he was genuinely guilty. Responding to this question, a majority 56% responded that Nawaz Sharif was guilty of the offence, while 44% opined that he was innocent and an affectee of a conspiracy.
Should Nawaz Sharif return to Pakistan to face jail / courts? Nearly 2 in 3 support return of Nawaz Sharif
Respondents were further asked if Nawaz Sharif should return to Pakistan and serve the jail sentence. Nearly 2 in 3 Pakistanis who have heard or read about the judgement agreed that he should return. The number suggests that even among those who say the decision may be wrong and he may be innocent, want Nawaz Sharif to return and face the courts / jail term.
Feeling sad or happy: Non-jubilant and sober Pakistan on conviction of former 3 time PM
Public opinion was sought if people were happy or sad to hear the judgement. More people (40%) said they were neither happy nor sad and an equal 26% each said they felt happy and sad. Around 8% opted not to respond to this question.
Judgement and effect on upcoming Election
Public Opinion was sought on whether the survey respondents thought the decision sentencing Nawaz Sharif to jail would negatively affect or positively affect his party’s electoral prospects.
Would this decision make a difference with respect to PML-N position in elections: Majority agree there would be repercussions of this verdict on the elections
Near majority (40%) respondents when asked ‘Would this decision make a difference with respect to PML-N’s position in elections’, said it would have an effect, where as 35% said it would have no effect on elections, rest did not respond to the question.
Sympathy vote or penalizing vote: Majority respondents opine that PML-N voter would penalize the party by leaving
Of those who thought the decision would have effects on voting behaviour of Pakistanis, when asked ‘Would PML-N electoral position be positively affected i.e more people would now vote for PML-N or negatively affected i.e people would leave PML-N to vote for other parties, a clear majority (56%) said that it would negatively affect the vote bank and people would leave PML-N, however, 30% said it would have a positive effect and now people would switch from other parties to PML-N.
Have you changed your voting decision: Only a small minority report changing their voting decision
Interestingly, when respondents were asked whether they have changed their own voting intention, only 16% said they have changed their voting intention because of the decision and 64% said they have not changed their decision and a quarter (24%) did not respond to the question.