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We are all losing.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- The title of this article was inspired by the findings of a comprehensive public opinion survey conducted by the MetroPOLL Research Agency following the Dec. 17 corruption scandal that the government believes to be a putsch against it. The research, titled "Turkey's Pulse -- January 2014," sought answers to many important questions.

The first thing that respondents were asked was their general perception of how things are going for the country. Since this question appears in every poll, answers can be followed over time. The proportion of those who think positively regarding Turkey's well-being has steadily fallen since last July. In July 2013, the proportion of those who believed that Turkey was faring well was 49 percent. In January 2014 this figure has fallen to 33 percent. This is the lowest percentage that MetroPOLL has ever measured in the years since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government took office.

The proportion of citizens who believe that the country is not faring well is currently 54.6 percent. Even one out of four members/supporters (25 percent) of the ruling AKP holds that opinion. While 62 percent of AKP supporters believe that the country is faring well, this attitude is shared by only 5 to 12 percent of the supporters of other parties represented in the Parliament. Between 70 and 87 percent of them believe that the country is not doing well.

It seems that we, as a whole, are losing confidence about the future of the country. I hope this loss of faith in a better common future is soon reversed, because a lack of confidence seriously depletes the collective energy necessary to stand against difficulties and overcome crises.

When a more personalized question regarding the future was asked ("Are you hopeful about what awaits you and your family in the future?"), this year, 40 percent of the people responded they were "hopeful," 42 percent said "not hopeful," and 15.6 percent were neither "hopeful" nor "not hopeful." In the November 2013 poll taken by MetroPOLL, the proportion of "hopefuls" was 46.7 percent. After Dec. 17 the percentage of "hopefuls" declined to the lowest percentage recorded in MetroPOLL public opinion polls taken in recent years.

Yet both the citizens and the government of Turkey can be glad that hopelessness is not a widespread attitude among the public, the most important factor being the continuing confidence of AKP supporters in their party/government. However, in overall terms the people of Turkey are sending a strong signal to the government to amend the mistakes made so far.

When comparing the demographic groups that answered the question about the future that awaits them and their families, the data reveals that men are a little more hopeful than women, just as illiterates and those with graduate degrees are also more hopeful than others. The self-employed and government employees and those whose monthly salary is more than TL 3,500 are also more hopeful than other social groups.

When hopefulness is evaluated according to party allegiance, we see that 69 percent of AKP supporters are hopeful while 16 percent of them are not. Among Republican People's Party (CHP) supporters, 12.4 percent are hopeful, as are 20 percent of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters and 22 percent of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) supporters. On the other hand, a full 70.5 percent of the CHP supporters polled, along with 65 percent of the MHP supporters and 54 percent of the BDP supporters not hopeful. What is striking in these figures is that proportion of the unhopeful has risen above that of the hopefuls for the first time under AKP rule.

Waning hope about the future and feelings of personal well-being are not isolated facts. There has also been a decrease in public confidence regarding opinion leaders and political leaders. This may be a contributing factor to the increase in pessimism in the public sphere.

In response to a question asked to measure whether confidence in leaders is still strong, MetroPOLL learned that President Abdullah GE-l is still ahead of other public figures with a 57 percent approval rating. However, this rate has fallen by 8 percent since December 2013.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an is the second most admired leader, with 47 percent approval, below the 50 percent median for the first time in recent years. Mr. Fethullah GE-len, accused by the government of being the leader of a "parallel state" with the intention of overthrowing the government, has also seen a drop in popularity. While his approval rating was 33.5 percent in June 2013 and 29.5 percent in December of the same year, it is 14 percent in January 2014. He has lost 15 percentage points and declined to seventh place in the approval ratings of political and opinion leaders.

The evidence suggests that the public finds neither side very convincing in the ongoing conflict. So what does it all boil down to? It seems we are all losing!

DOy[currency]U ERGyL (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Feb 5, 2014
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