The party of Turkey’s poorest voters

KONDA Research has issued one of its reports titled “Voter Clusters” analysing HDP voters. In the report in which the needs and demands of the voter base profile are examined, the demographic characteristics and opinions of HDP voters are analysed in depth. One result of the analysis is that HDP/BDP supporters are poorer in relation to the readings for Turkey as a whole.

25 Mayıs 2018 Cuma, 08:29
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The report reveals that HDP voters, to a large extent made up of young people, constitute the poorest segment of the Turkish population. The HDP, which attracts particular interest from housewives, is a microcosm of Turkey in terms of the various religions and sects it encompasses.

 Mezopotamya Agency reports that the polling institution KONDA, which is producing reports titled “Voter Clusters” on the profiles, needs and demands of the voter base of the four large parties, the AKP, CHP, HDP and MHP, prior to the 24 June elections, has issued its final report on the HDP following the other parties.

 The report compiled by Yusuf Kutlu offers a profile of HDP voters from their educational level to economic situation, ethnic identity to social media use and perspectives on Turkey’s domestic and external problems.

 Distribution by age group

 On examination of all the data from 2010 to 2017, half the support obtained by the HDP/DBP appears to come from the dynamic segment aged between 18-32 labelled “young.” Compared to Turkey’s overall population, the segment aged between 18-32 that supports the HDP is 10-15 percentage points higher than the percentage for Turkey. Conversely, in the segment aged 49 and above in Turkey, the overall percentage is ten per cent larger than the segment that supports the HDP/DBP in this age group.

 Distribution by educational level

 Even if at a slow rate and at low levels, there is an increase in the educational level of HDP/DBP supporters in parallel with the increase in the educated population in Turkey. With the backbone of support for the HDP/DBP made up of those with below secondary school education, this group fell proportionately among HDP/DBP voters from 2010 to 2017. Standing at 72% in 2010, this fell to 57% in 2017. Bearing in mind the increase in the HDP/DBP vote over this time, it was noted that high-school and university graduates have taken the places of people with below secondary school education among HDP/DBP voters.

 Employment, profession and economy

 Turning to analysis of the professions HDP supporters are engaged in, housewives predominate, reflecting the overall picture in Turkey. Examining the distribution of job status in the profile of HDP/DBP voters over the years 2010-2017 in terms of both and trend and average, housewives make up a considerable proportion. For example, the averages over these years show 29% of HDP/DBP supporters being housewives, compared to around 32% in Turkey.

 Additionally, the percentage of those HDP/DBP supporters who define themselves as “not working” is double the overall rate for Turkey. The percentage of HDP/DBP supporters who are unemployed and looking for work is more than twice the corresponding level for Turkey. The percentage of housewives that support the HDP/DBP is two points lower than the total for Turkey.

 Another notable figure is that for the retired. With the retired accounting for 13% of the population in Turkey, the percentage of HDP/DBP supporters in this group is only 4.5%. The percentage of HDP/DBP supporters engaged in the workforces portrayed as being the marginal sector is more than three times the Turkish average.

 Another striking piece of data, conversely, is that a higher percentage of HDP/DBP supporters state their profession to be “doctor, lawyer, architect, merchant, industrialist, businessperson, small self-employed, artisan, driver and worker” than the overall figure for Turkey. Given that the percentage of HDP/DBP supporters among the retired, those in the marginal sector and unemployed is well above the Turkish average, their percentage in such employment as civil servants and managers could be expected to be low, but it is only 1.2% below the Turkish overall average.

 Monthly household income

 A comparison of Turkey overall with HDP/DBP supporters reveals that, while HDP/DBP supporters are overrepresented among low earners, the overall Turkish percentage is higher among those with a high income. This analysis leads to the conclusion that HDP/DBP supporters are poorer than the Turkish average.

 Distribution by economic class

 In analyses of economic class, HDP supporters appear to be concentrated in the lower classes. Around 45% of HDP supporters are categorised as belonging to what is described as the “low income” class. For Turkey as whole, conversely, the “low income” class averages out at 19%. With HDP supporters accounting for 28% of the category described as the “lower middle” class in 2013, the corresponding percentage for Turkey as a whole is 37%. The gap continually narrowed to a difference of two percentage points in 2017, with HDP supporters at 29% and Turkey at 31%.

 Residence

 Figures show that Turkish society and HDP supporters predominantly live in flats and traditional detached houses. The percentage of HDP supporters who live in flats and traditional detached houses has neither ever fallen below 80% nor risen above 90%. The remaining 10-20% group represents two or three segments in economic terms from among HDP supporters: those living in squatters’ settlements, exposed-masonry flats and housing complexes. This is also the picture that emerges for Turkey as a whole, even if the figures are slightly different.

 Identity and ethnic roots

 Especially since 2013, that is when the HDP began to work more actively in an organisational sense, there has been an increase in the percentage of those who identify themselves as Kurdish. The HDP has turned into a party that those who identify themselves as Kurdish have begun to support ever increasingly. Particularly in the June 2015 elections, the share of the vote of those who identify themselves as Kurdish increased and accounted for close to 10% of the vote the HDP received. The share of the vote of those who identify themselves as Turkish was seen to be 8% and 9% respectively in 2014 and 2015, but a fall of one or two points has been witnessed since 2016 and 2017.

 Religion, faith and daily life

 When the distribution of HDP supporters in faith and sectarian terms is examined in comparison with Turkey as a whole, the distribution of HDP supporters appears to match Turkey’s sectarian map in close parallel.

 Examination of the HDP since its inception along with the final two years of its predecessor the DBP reveals it to be a body composed 90% of Sunni Muslims. As such the HDP can be said to be a microcosm of Turkey when we examine it in the context purely of religion and sect.

 Internet and social media

 When the internet and social media use of HDP voters and supporters was examined, it emerged that Facebook was the most widely used social media channel at 55%. Of HDP supporters, 49% use Whatsapp, 32% Instagram, 26% Youtube, 24% Twitter, while 29% have never been on the internet and 6% have accessed the internet but have not used social media.

 Is the media pressurised?

 With 80% of HDP supporters responding “Yes” to the question asked in December 2016 as to whether the media was pressurised, the figure for Turkey as a whole was 44%. With 14% of HDP supporters replying, “It depends,” this reply was given by 32% of people in Turkey overall. With those in the HDP who think that the media is not pressurised making up 6%, this stands at 23% overall in Turkey. A fairly high percentage of HDP members/voters/supporters think that the media is pressurised and in this respect they are highly differentiated from Turkey in general.

 The response, “It depends” is elicited nearly twice as frequently in Turkey overall at 32%. These differing percentages show that, while HDP supporters say that the media is under pressure regardless of the situation, there is an awareness in Turkey as a whole that pressure takes place under certain particular circumstances.

 Lifestyle

 The picture emerging from an examination of the distribution of lifestyle clusters and the change they have undergone over the years is most interesting. While in Turkey overall the clusters “Modern,” “Traditional Conservative” and “Religious Conservative” have not shown any change in their distribution over the years, in the period from 2010 to 2017, the share of HDP supporters who identify themselves as “modern” has increased from 24% to 31%, while, conversely, the proportion of HDP supporters who identify themselves as “religious conservative” has retreated from 33% to 24%.

 Turkey’s EU accession

 Examination of the distribution of opinions on Turkey’s membership of the European Union restricted to the HDP and in Turkey overall reveal that, while in Turkey as a whole there is an increased emphasis on Turkey’s EU membership being incorrect, there is a visible increase in the total of “absolutely correct” and “correct” responses when restricted to the HDP.

 HDP supporters and elections

 Likewise, with 51% of HDP supporters replying “absolutely true” on being asked about elections and fraudulent vote counting, the corresponding figure in Turkey as a whole is 31%. With the number of those responding “true” amounting to 40% within the HDP, this comes to 28% in Turkey overall. The share of HDP supporters who think with all degrees of intensity that electoral fraud is not committed amounts to 10%, while the corresponding score is seen to be 42% in Turkey as a whole. Informed by this data, it is abundantly clear that HDP supporters/voters/members to a very large degree think that electoral fraud is committed and register scores in this respect well above the Turkish average.

 In this regard, with 85% of HDP supporters stating that fraudulent vote counting was committed in the 16 April 2017 constitutional amendment referendum, the corresponding score for Turkey as a whole did not exceed 43%.

 HDP supporters and a “Kurdish state”

 Examination of the replies by HDP supporters and in Turkey overall to the question about Kurds establishing administrative units in Syria and Turkey’s intervention reveals that 89% of HDP supporters think that Turkey should not intervene.

 HDP supporters and the solution process

 From data emerging in research conducted in 2016, 92% of HDP supporters think that there should be a return to peace and the negotiating table in the Kurdish issue. This statement was qualified by “absolutely” in 68% of cases.

 KONDA'dan HDP seçmeni analizi: En yoksul seçmen