In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup between the two politicians, President Rouhani garners 41% support from Iranian adults, giving him a 12-point lead over former President Mahmood Ahmadinejad’s 29% support for the next presidential election in Iran (to be held in spring of 2017.) 10% said they will not vote for either one and/or would choose another candidate. Moreover, 15% of respondents are undecided or registered options such as “I have not made my decision,” “I might not participate in the election,” etc. 5% refused to answer or said that they’re not informed about the upcoming presidential election.

Q: If Mr. Rouhani and Mr. Ahmadinejad went head-to-head in the coming presidential election in 2017, who would you vote for?

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The same question was posed to respondents in February of 2015; at that time, Mr. Rouhani had only a modest 4-point edge, 28 % to Ahmadinejad’s 24%.

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Rouhani vs. Ahmadinejad by Political Affiliation

Though Reformists and Moderates are more likely to vote for Mr. Rouhani in the next presidential election, Principalists prefer Mr. Ahmadinejad in the hypothetical head-to-head matchup.

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Those respondents who affiliate themselves with the Moderates are most loyal to President Rouhani in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup with former president Ahmadinejad for the 2017 presidential election: 73% of them say they will vote for him, as opposed to the 15% who prefer Mr. Ahmadinejad. Among Reformists, the level of loyalty to Mr. Rouhani is far less than that of the Moderates, though they still prefer Mr. Rouhani over Mr. Ahmadinejad by a wide margin (37-points).

Ahmadinejad commands support of Principalists by an almost 19-point margin (45% to 26%). Moreover, among those who claim no affiliation, Mr. Ahmadinejad would beat Mr. Rouhani by 12 points (37% to 25%.)

Data analysis does demonstrate a statistically meaningful relationship between respondents’ party affiliation and their presidential vote.

Rouhani vs. Ahmadinejad by Gender

Both male and female respondents are more likely to prefer Mr. Rouhani to Mr. Ahmadinejad to a statistically meaningful extent. Ahmadinejad’s supporters are, however, slightly more likely to be female than male.

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Rouhani vs. Ahmadinejad by Age Groups

Respondents 60 year of age or older favor Mr. Rouhani to Mr. Ahmadinejad at a greater frequency than other age cohorts.

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When responses are disaggregated by age, those respondents who are 60 or older are found to favor Mr. Rouhani by a 27-point margin, more than any other age cohort. In the February 2015 iPOS poll, elderly Iranians also preferred Mr. Rouhani over Mr. Ahmadinejad more than any other age group but with less pronounced a margin (11 points).

The age gap is less pronounced among younger Iranians who are of ages 30 to 44, with seven percent in Rouhani’s favor.

Data analysis does demonstrate a difference between these two nominees’ empirical votes, and the age groups are significantly different from each other.

Rouhani vs. Ahmadinejad by Education

Respondents with university education prefer Mr. Rouhani in a head-to-head matchup by a wide margin (33 percent), while those who do not have a university education are nearly evenly split, with only a one-percent lead for Mr. Rouhani.

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Rouhani vs. Ahmadinejad by Location

Respondents were markedly split in a statistically meaningful way by their location, with 43% of those who residing in rural areas supporting Mr. Ahmadinejad as opposed to 27% of those who support Mr. Rouhani. By contrast, just 24% of city dwellers are more likely to support Mr. Ahmadinejad while 46% of them favor Mr. Rouhani.

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Survey Methods:

  • Results are based on telephone interviews (cellphone and landline) conducted from March 11, 2016 to March 24, 2016 (excluding March 20, 2016,) with a random sample of 1,077 Iranian adults aged 18 and older who currently reside in Iran.
  • The iPOS proportional two-stage sample includes respondents from every province. Provinces have been categorized into three groups based on their human development index (HDI).
  • Based on the sample, it can be stated with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is between ± 3 and percentage points.
  • Native Farsi speakers conducted the interviews during daylight hours in Iran. Interviewers were trained prior to conducting the poll.
  • Nine demographic variables including gender, age, province of residence, location (urban or rural), education, language, ethnicity, religion, and residential situation have been considered in this poll. Results are weighted by gender, age, and location (urban vs. rural areas) based on the Iranian national census of 2011.
  • Rates of respondent candor and reliability were appraised by experienced interviewers. 16 persons found to be lacking in these areas were removed from the sample.