Musharraf's popularity suffers sharp decline: new poll

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Washington, Feb 12 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's approval rating has plummeted to 15 per cent - half of what it was in last November - and three-quarters of those polled think he should resign, says a new public opinion poll.

The poll was conducted by the US-based International Republican Institute (IRI) and its result was released here yesterday ahead of the election in Pakistan. The result shows a sharp rise in the popularity of the opposition parties in Pakistan, especially that of Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

The two main opposition parties, meanwhile, had the backing of a combined 72 per cent of those surveyed.

According to the poll, seventy-nine per cent of respondents said that if the party of President Pervez Musharraf, the PML(Q), wins the most number of seats, they would believe that the election had been rigged.

The poll also shows that 89 per cent of those surveyed feel that Pakistan should not support the United States in its war on terror.

The poll was conducted in January 19-29, 2008.

The randomly selected sample consists of 3,485 adult men and women from 223 rural and 127 urban locations in 50 districts in all the four provinces of Pakistan. The margin of error for the national sample will not exceed +1.69 per cent in 19 out of 20 cases.

IRI, a non-profit, non-partisan organisation, has been conducting surveys in Pakistan since 2002. The goal of the programme is to both gauge the public opinion and to use this information in IRI's work with Pakistan's political parties.

UNI XC RC VP0645

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