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Poll shows Turkey's Erdogan likely to win election
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's ruling AK Party, led by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, has the backing of 46 percent of voters, less than six months before a national election, an opinion poll published on Sunday showed.
If the findings of the survey, conducted in December by Konsensus pollster for the Haberturk newspaper, were replicated in the June vote, the AK Party would secure a third consecutive term, having first come to power in 2002.
The AK Party, sometimes described as a Muslim version of Europe's Christian Democrat parties, won 47 percent of the vote at the last election in 2007.
The AK has overseen a period of unprecedented economic growth in Turkey, after coming to power when the country was struggling out of the 2000/01 economic crisis.
Turks' increasing confidence in their economy is one reason why many are less keen on joining the European Union, which remains a principle AK foreign policy goal.
The AK Party's move to open formal membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005 was popular, but enthusiasm has cooled because of hurdles placed in the way of Muslim Turkey while other countries joined the bloc.
Nationalists and some liberals remain deeply suspicious of AK Party leaders' Islamist roots, but the AK's championing of democratic reforms in a country with a history of military coups has found favor with many people.
The AK says it has no intention of rolling back the secular state in Turkey, though Erdogan says he will introduce a new constitution if he wins another term.
The Konsensus poll showed support for the main secular opposition, the Republican People's Party (CHP), at 26 percent, an improvement on its 2007 showing of 21 percent.
The more conservative Nationalist Movement Party had backing from 12 percent of voters, a slide from its 2007 result when the party took just over 14 percent of the vote.
Of the 1,500 people asked, more than 11 percent said they were undecided, while almost 10 percent said they did not intend to vote. Haberturk did not report the margin of error.
(Reporting by Simon Cameron-Moore and Ece Toksabay)
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