Islamabad : The surveys carried out by Gallup Pakistan, show that former Prime Minister Gilani began his tenure with fairly high approval ratings of 49% which dipped to less than half at 21% towards the end of his Prime Ministerial career. His negative ratings which were a mere 12% at the start rose quite dramatically to 53% during the same period.
Comparison of PM Gilani and President Zardari’s approval ratings: further analysis of trend data shows that at the start, PM Gilani’s approval ratings had considerable edge over those of the President. This edge declined over the years. Nevertheless the approval ratings of PM Gilani remained higher than those of the President’s even when he was disqualified by the Supreme Court and had to leave the office.
The edge of Gilani over Zardari in net approval ratings was +54% in the first year of their incumbency and dropped to over less than half that much at the end of his four years in office.
A senior commentator at Gallup Pakistan offered the following commentary.
At the start of his tenure Prime Minister Gilani was viewed more favorably than the President because he was seen to be less partisan, less tainted by corruption scandals and less potent in terms of his executive authority, some of which rested in the office of the President. As a result his approval ratings were mostly Positive (49) or Ambivalent: (neither good, nor bad /don’t know) standing at (39%). Only (12%) viewed him negatively.
As years passed by, PM Gilani disappointed those who believed he might rebel against President Zardari. He was now seen to be more partisan to Zardari. Secondly, he began to gather around him corruption scandals similar to those which, irrespective of their veracity, were responsible for the negative reputation of President Zardari. As a result, he lost his `perceived Innocence’. Lastly the passing of the 18th Amendment affected the `Image of Prime Minister’s Authority’. He was now seen to possess real executive authority. It is interesting that the sharp decline in PM Gilani’s approval ratings came during the period after the passing of the 18th Amendment in April 2010.
On the whole PM Gilani’s continued partisanship to President Zardari, loss of innocence on corruption and the formal powers vested in him after the 18th Amendment cost him a dramatic decline in Net Ratings from a +37% during his first year in government to -32% at the end of his tenure.
The senior commenter further added that PM Gilani lost his case in the Supreme Court for not bending to court orders regarding Zardari’s alleged corruption. He lost his partisanship to Zardari’s politics. And yet when he is no longer in office the enigma will persist: Is his partisanship to Zardari sincere or only prudent?
Methodology: The recent most survey (quoted in this report) was carried out among a sample of 2696 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of the country, during March 25, 2012 April 01, 2012. Error margin is estimated to be approximately 2-3 per cent at 95% confidence level. The Methodology for all previous surveys in the trend data is comparable to the latest survey.