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Erdogan Losing Support, Trails Opposition in Turkey, Poll Shows

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- The main Turkish opposition party, led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has pulled ahead of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party, a public opinion poll shows.

In this month’s Sonar Arastirma poll, 33.5 percent of respondents said they would vote for Kilicdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party, as opposed to 31.1 percent for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party. The prime minister’s party led in the Istanbul-based research group’s June poll, backed by 33.4 percent of respondents to 30.25 percent for the Republicans.

The Nationalist Action Party would receive 13.8 percent of the vote, according to Sonar Arastirma’s July 3-10 poll, which was received by e-mail. The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party would get 4.5 percent, below the 10 percent threshold needed for representation in parliament, the poll shows.

Elections are planned by July of next year. In the last elections, in 2007, Erdogan’s Justice and Development won with 47 percent of the vote, to 21 percent for the Republicans.

Erdogan received the lowest rating for trust of any Turkish leader or government branch listed in the poll, at 33 percent. The most trustworthy was the armed forces, with 78 percent. The poll also shows 46 percent of respondents had a negative outlook on the economy.

According to the poll, 77 percent said unemployment was the country’s most important problem. The latest figures released by the State Statistics Institute show Turkey’s jobless rate fell to 12 percent in the three months through May from 14.9 percent a year earlier.

The poll was conducted through in-person interviews with 3,000 people in 16 provinces. The margin of error is 1.7 percentage points, Sonar Arastirma said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Benjamin Harvey in Ankara at bharvey11@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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