80% of Turkey’s Gen Z tell pollster they won’t vote for Erdogan

80% of Turkey’s Gen Z tell pollster they won’t vote for Erdogan
Amid a bitter and prolonged economic crisis, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a struggle to find anywhere near enough votes. / Turkish Presidency.
By bne IntelIiNews July 11, 2022

The opinion polling data continues to look bleak for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who must face the electorate by next June at the latest.

Some 80% of Turkey’s Generation Z—those born after 2000—say they will not vote for Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to a study by Gezici Research.

By next June, Gen Z will represent 11.8% of Turkey’s voting adult population.

“They do not approve of dictating, imperious or harsh language from politicians,” Gezici Research chairman and international security expert Murat Gezici told Turkish daily Cumhuriyet on July 10.

Gezici also noted that an “overwhelming majority” of young people said they would vote for the opposition’s Nation Alliance candidate if the presidential election went to a second round run-off. “Because they see the government as more oppressive and controlling,” he added.

The main constituency that will determine the outcome of the elections—in which the parliamentary and presidential contests will be held in parallel—is Gen Y. The demographic is made up of people born between 1980 and 1999 and represents 32.6% of the Turkish electorate. Gezici said it has a higher percentage of undecided voters.

“Those who remember the old Turkey, who are close centrist, but remain undecided will determine the fate of this election,” Gezici said. Seventy percent of undecided voters were part of Gen Y, with most of them women, he added.

Gezici further explained to Cumhuriyet that Gezici Research assessed the current share of undecided voters as amounting to 16%, with 92.7% of these people under 40. “Out of this group, 68% live on less than 5,500 lira [$317] per month. The economic crisis is forcing a decision on the undecided, and often draws them closer to a party from the opposition front,” he said.

Of all surveyed Gen Y and Gen Z respondents, 72% said they had trouble getting by financially. Some 76% said they did not believe the economy would be fixed one year into the future.

Also, 56.8% said an opposition candidate would make a better president than Erdogan, who has been Turkey’s leader for nearly two decades. A total of 43.2% said they did not have faith in the opposition either.

The sheer extent of the chronic economic crisis that has gripped Turkey for several years is illustrated by new data showing the country’s meat consumption has halved in the past five years.

Ahval summarised a report in Turkish daily Sozcu detailing how amid rampant inflation, a family of four in Turkey has reduced its annual consumption of red meat to 28 kg, from 2017’s 56 kg, according to figures from the Red Meat Industry and Producers Association (ETBIR).

Rising rates of poverty in the country have reportedly resulted in stunted development for children of low-income families.