A recent iPOS poll found that former Iranian president Mahmood Ahmadinejad would perform better than expected in the next presidential election thanks in large part to his high favorability rating among Iranians without university degree and those who are living in rural areas.

The survey, conducted on February 14 to 15 2015, shows that in a head-to-head matchup President Rohani has a modest edge over former President Ahmadinejad, 28% to 24%.

Mr. Rohani's margin is 10% better among respondents in urban areas. Mr. Ahmadinejad, however, has a 9% advantage among respondents in rural areas.

Twenty-five percent of respondents are undecided, and 23% registered "other options" such as "I have no idea", "not interested in this topic", and "I will not participate in the next election", etc.

If the aforementioned "other option" respondents are not included in the tally, Mr. Rohani leads Mr. Ahmadinejad 36% to 31%. Thirty-three precent of respondents remain undecided.

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Gender

The poll did not find significant gender gaps between Mr. Rohani and Mr. Ahmadinejad's basis of support. Nevertheless, women are slightly more likely to support Mr. Rohani than Mr. Ahmadinejad. Mr. Rohani's margin among women is eight percent and one percent among men.

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Age

When responses are disaggregated by age, those respondents who are 59 or older favor Mr. Rohani by an eleven-point margin, while those in the 45-59 cohort favor the current president by 13 points.

The age gap is less pronounced among younger Iranians who are of ages 18 to 29, with three percent in Rohani’s favor. Mr. Rohani and Mr. Ahmadinejad poll equally among Iranians who are of ages 30 to 44.

Nevertheless, data analysis does not demonstrate the difference between these two nominees’ empirical votes, and the age groups are significantly different from each other.

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Education

Respondents were markedly split by level of education, with 43% of those who having a university degree supporting Mr. Rohani as opposed to 22% of those who support Mr. Ahmadinejad. By contrast, 36% of those who have no university degree support Mr. Ahmadinejad as opposed to the 33% who support Mr. Rohani.

Analysis of data suggests Mr. Rohani performing significantly better among respondents who have a university degree, and Mr. Ahmadinejad performing significantly better among respondents without a university degree.

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Location (Urban vs. Rural Area)

Respondents in rural areas are more likely to support Mr. Ahamdinejad registering a nine-point margin in his favor (39% versus 30%). The percentage of respondents who support Mr. Rohani is significantly higher in urban areas (38% versus 28%).

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Survey Methods:

  • Results are based on telephone interviews conducted on Feb 14 to 15 2015, with a random sample of 735 Iranian adults aged 18 and older who are currently residing in Iran.
  • The iPOS proportional two-stage sample includes respondents on landlines and cellular phones representing every province.
  • Results are weighted by gender, age and location (urban vs. rural areas) based on the Iranian national census of 2011.
  • Based on the sample, it can be stated with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ± 3.6 percentage points.
  • Native Farsi speakers conducted the interviews during daylight hours in Iran. Interviewers were trained prior to conducting the poll.