Poll: Iranians Disappointed in Rouhani

In February 2021, Iranians largely disapproved of President Hassan Rouhani but were divided over who should succeed him. Iran will hold presidential elections on June 18, 2021. Rouhani was ineligible to run again after serving two consecutive terms in office. But “nearly two-thirds of Iranians say they would prefer a critic of Rouhani to be the next president of Iran,” according to a poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and IranPoll. The survey found:

  • A majority – 62 percent – held an unfavorable view of Rouhani, while 61 percent said that the economy had worsened under his administration.
  • A plurality – 35 percent – said that they did not know who they would vote for in the presidential election. But 48 percent selected one of three prominent conservatives as their top choice: Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi polled at 27 percent; former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad polled at 13 percent; and Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf polled at 8 percent.
  • Less than half – 48 percent – said that they would vote in the upcoming June presidential elections.
  • A majority – 57 percent – said that U.S.-Iran relations would “remain the same” during the Biden administration. The percentage of Iranians who expected relations to improve – 28 percent – was higher than the percentage who expected relations to worsen: 9 percent.

The findings were a major reversal of political fortunes for the centrist politician; Rouhani previously held an 89 percent favorability rating after concluding negotiations with the five major world powers over Iran’s nuclear program in June 2015. The landmark agreement was supposed to bring significant economic benefits to Iran, which had been under international sanctions for years. The following are findings from the poll.