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In special report, leading Principlist paper cites poll, puts voter turnout at 45%

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raeisi gather for an open-air campaign event at the Arg (Citadel) of Tabriz, in Tabriz, Iran, on June 2, 2021. (Photo by YJC)

Iran’s leading Principlist paper, Kayhan, says a poll has assessed that 45 percent of people currently say they will participate in the forthcoming presidential election, and 67 percent of them say they will vote for Ebrahim Raeisi.

Kayhan said in a special report published in its Thursday, June 3 print edition that the poll, by a “credible university center” that it did not name, showed that Raeisi ranked first in terms of current support among voters, and Mohsen Rezaei ranked a distant second with only “seven percent.”

Voter support for the other five candidates running in the June 18 election was reported as follows: Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi with “one percent,” Nasser Hemmati with “five percent,” Sa’eed Jalili with “four percent,” Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh with “one percent,” and Alireza Zakani with “below one percent.”

The report also cited figures from a recent poll by the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) as also showing Raeisi at the top with 82.4 percent of support and Rezaei at second place with 5.3 percent. According to Kayhan, Mehr-Alizadeh ranked at the bottom in that poll with 0.2 percent.

It quoted ISPA Director Mehdi Rafi’ee Behabadi as saying that Raeisi’s margin was very large and that the current climate of the contest was “not heated.” Presidential debates, he implied, could change that atmosphere.

The first live presidential debate is scheduled for Saturday. The candidates have already started engaging in sharp-worded exchanges, but direct face-offs on live television are widely expected to captivate voters more strongly and swing a number of votes in one direction or another.  

“[Voters] continue to be inclined toward Mr. Raeisi,” Kayhan said, “and nearly half of undecided voters [already] speak of Mr. Raeisi.”

From among the seven candidates, one, Mehr-Alizadeh, has an explicitly Reformist profile, and another, Hemmati, is perceived to be leaning toward the Reformist faction — but neither of them has received official Reformist endorsement as of yet. The five other candidates are Principlists, even though Raeisi has said he is running as “an independent.”

The Reformist faction’s top choice, Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, was disqualified by the Constitutional Council from running. So was former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

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