Erdogan's approval ratings up as lira stabilises -poll

Turkish President Erdogan visits Albania
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures after delivering his speech at the Albanian Parliament, in Tirana, Albania, January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Florion Goga/File Photo

ANKARA, Jan 20 (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan's approval rating rose 2.1 percentage points in January, a poll by Metropoll Research showed on Thursday, as the Turkish lira steadied in recent weeks on the back of government measures despite soaring inflation.

Under pressure from Erdogan and despite high inflation, the central bank has slashed interest rates by 500 basis points since September, triggering a currency crisis that saw the lira plunge last month to 18.4 to the dollar, its weakest level ever.

Inflation has jumped to a 19-year high of 36%, seriously eroding earnings, especially of working and lower middle class Turks who form the electoral base of Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AKP.

The government has introduced fiscal measures to ease the currency volatility, but the lira is still 46% weaker than a year ago and Erdogan, who wants to boost exports and credit, has refused to change course despite mounting criticism.

According to Metropoll, Erdogan's approval rating rose from 38.6% in December to 40.7% in January. The number of those who do not approve of the president has fallen 2.8 percentage points in that time, it said. Erdogan's disapproval rating still remained higher though, at 54.4%.

Despite the rise in popularity, Erdogan's approval ratings are still at a multi-year lows. Turks have cited economic woes and mismanagement as the top reasons for their dissatisfaction with Erdogan's government of 19 years. read more

Erdogan, who received more than 52% of the vote in the 2018 presidential election, has long been touted as a masterful campaigner. Despite repeated calls from opposition parties for early elections, he has said presidential and parliamentary votes would be held as planned in mid-2023.

Polls have shown Erdogan would lose to Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu - both from the main opposition CHP - as well as Iyi Party Chairwoman Meral Aksener, at the next elections.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Alex Richardson

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