A poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan based on data from five separate polls carried out in the months leading up to the July 25 elections forecasts that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) will likely emerge as the largest party on the national level, but that it will be followed closely by the embattled PML-N in terms of vote.
However, the research organisation concluded that the 12 per cent undecided voters may tilt the balance of the election in Punjab, the country's largest province, thus ultimately determining the fate of the next federal government.
Examine: Herald survey shows elections too close to call
Also adding to the uncertainty are allegations that not all political parties are being provided with a level playing field ahead of the polls.
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"There is [a] considerable display of judicial and para-judicial activity culminating in arrests, disqualifications and judgments which cause concern among all key contestants, except the front-runner of the polling data, PTI," Gallup Pakistan observed.
The "poll of polls" released a day ahead of countrywide general elections constitutes the average of poll findings by five different polling organisations and publishers: Gallup Pakistan, Institute for Public Opinion Research, Sustainable Development Policy Institute/Herald, Pulse Consultants and Roshan Pakistan.
"The conclusion shared by nearly all pollsters is that it is an unpredictable election," Gallup Pakistan wrote in its report.
Following are the key findings of the survey of polls conducted between May 1 and July 11 ahead of the 2018 elections and collectively surveying nearly 22,000 respondents:
A neck-and-neck fight has been observed between the PML-N and PTI, with 12pc of still undecided voters contributing to uncertainty
With a lead in the national vote bank, PTI is expected to emerge as the largest party on the federal level, following closely by the PML-N in terms of vote
PML-N will likely lead in terms of vote, but with a single-digit margin with PTI
PML-N will likely emerge victorious in central and western Punjab; however, PTI will probably lead in South Punjab on account of anti-PML-N votes. A tough contest between the two parties is likely in North Punjab, but PTI is likely to be ahead in votes
PPP will continue to dominate Sindh
PTI is forecast to continue its lead in KP
A coalition of parties is likely to form a government in Balochistan
Other observations from the poll
The poll of polls indicates a dramatic rise in PTI's vote bank at both national and provincial, with the increase attributable to voters won over from PML-N and other parties
The five polls show that PML-N's vote bank from the 2013 elections has declined nationally by 3-6pc, but it is still forecasted to be the second largest party nationally. PTI's vote bank, meanwhile, has nearly doubled from 17pc in 2013 to 32pc presently
In Gallup's own poll findings, the figure of the undecided voters dropped from 21pc two months ago to 13pc in the final week of the elections. Nearly 6pc of them switched to PTI
Analysis suggests the profile of the undecided voters is close to the profile of PML-N voters. If these undecided PML-N voters decide to join the PTI fold or go back to PML-N in large numbers the situation may change drastically. Therefore, the swing vote in Punjab may ultimately determine the fate of the next federal government
The national average of expected votes computed by Gallup Pakistan ranges between 30-32pc for PTI; 27-30pc for PML-N; and 17-20pc for the PPP
A total of 105.95 million voters will head to polls across the country on Wednesday to elect their representatives to the National Assembly and the four provincial legislatures.