A new poll by the U.S.-based Information and Public Opinion Solutions (IPOS) has found that President Hassan Rouhani (left) has the highest favorability rating of potential 2017 presidential candidates, followed by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right). Ahmadinejad, president from 2005 to 2013, still has a high rating among Iranians without university degrees and those living in rural areas. In a head-to-head race, 28 percent of respondents said they would vote for Rouhani while 24 percent picked Ahmadinejad.
But Rouhani’s edge increased to six percent when respondents were asked an open-ended question about who they would vote for. After Rouhani and Ahmadinejad, the following four individuals were the top picks of respondents:
• Former President Mohammad Khatami
• Expediency Council Chairman and former President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
• Mayor of Tehran Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf
• Former Revolutionary Guards Commander Mohsen Rezaei
IPOS also found that Rouhani’s approval ratings
have fallen in the last few months. In November 2014, 59 percent of Iranians polled approved
of the president’s job performance, while 28 percent disapproved. In February 2015, his approval rating fell to 49 percent.
Rouhani’s rating did not vary in a statistically significant way when data was analyzed according to gender, education level and location of respondents. But Rouhani’s popularity did differ significantly across age groups. Rouhani polled the best among Iranians age 59 and above. Some 56 of older Iranians approved of his performance, at least five percent more than any other age group.
IPOS conducted the survey on February 14-15, which consisted of a random sample of 735 Iranians.