Ramifications of Rouhani's Re-election

University of Maryland CISSM has published its most recent study based on three nationally representative surveys that were conducted in Iran by IranPoll for the University of Maryland. CISSM was responsible for designing the questionnaires, getting feedback on them from relevant policy experts and practitioners, performing the analysis, and putting together the final report. 

IranPoll fielded the first poll in Dec. 2016, the other in the middle of Iran’s presidential election campaigns in May 2017, and the third just recently after the soon after the terrorist attacks in Tehran. The first poll with a sample size of 1,015, was conducted May 8–11, 2017, a week before Iran’s presidential election. The other, with a sample size of 1,004, was conducted June 11–17, 2017, a week after the terror attacks in Tehran.

The study covers a wide range of issues. The study shows that an overwhelming majority of Iranians are likely to find a bill similar to the new sanctions bill that was just passed in the U.S. house of representative to be at odds with U.S. obligations under the nuclear agreement (see Q13). It also shows that while Iranians are still optimistic about the nuclear deal their country negotiated with the P5+1 countries two years ago, they would support a form of retaliation if President Trump decides to abrogate the agreement.

The study looks at Iran’s May 2017 presidential election as well. It shows that Rouhani’s victory was not a given and that he could have faced a much stronger challenge if opponents behaved differently. The poll also covers other issues including Iran’s involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

The detailed frequency table of the poll could be found here.


Main Findings:

The following charts have been produced by CISSM.


Live C-SPAN Coverage:

C-SPAN 3 is covering this poll live:

C-SPAN live Coverage


Media Coverage:

Below are links to the articles covering this poll:

Pre-election results (16 May 2017)

IranPoll is proud of providing the most accurate prediction of the outcome of Iran’s May 2017 presidential election. Our prediction from May 16, 2017 (3 days before the election), was published by The Economist about 20 hours before the initial official results were declared. 

On May 20, 2017, Iran's Ministry of Interior officially declared that Rouhani had won 57% and Raisi had won 38% of the cast ballots. Our prediction was less than 2 percentage points away from the officially declared results.

IranPoll is now releasing further polling results from the poll conducted on May 16, 2017 prior the Iranian presidential election. The study is based on a telephone poll among a representative sample of 1,007 Iranians. The margin of error is about +/- 3.09%.

Questions in this survey include:  

  • Q1. Please say the degree to which you have a favorable or an unfavorable view of:
    • A- Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf
    • B- Hassan Rouhani
    • C- Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi
    • D.  Eshagh Jahangiri
    • E. Mostafa Mirsalim
    • F. Mostafa Hashemi Taba
    • G. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    • H- Mohammad Javad Zarif
    • I- General Qasem Soleymani
  • Q3. If the election was to be held tomorrow, which one of following candidates would you be most likely to vote for?
  • Q4. If only Rouhani and Raisi remain in the race, who would you vote for?
  • Q5. Now assume that Ghalibaf had remained and, instead, Raisi would have left the race in favor of Ghalibaf. Also assume that other candidates besides Rouhani and Ghalibaf would also leave the race. In that case, who would you have been most likely to vote for? Rouhani or Ghalibaf?
  • Q6.  Regardless of whether you are going to vote or not and your personal views about the candidates, which of the following candidates do you think will ultimately win?


The full report with frequency tables is available in PDF form here

Post-election Analysis of Polling Accuracy

Like most polling agencies, majority of polls conducted by IranPoll is owned by clients. However, IranPoll did publicize two rounds of polling results before the Iranian 2017 presidential election which was held on May 19th 2017.

This short summary is aimed to analyze the accuracy of IranPoll’s latest publicly available polling results for that election, which was conducted on May 16th 2017, and was published in The Economist on May 19th 2017 available here.

The following graph is made by The Economist using IranPoll’s data:

The actual results of the presidential election as reported by the Iranian Ministry of Interior was 57.14% for Hassan Rouhani and 38.28% for Ebrahim Raisi.

As IranPoll’s presidential survey utilized probabilistic sampling, the margin of sampling error could be used to estimate prediction error in the results as followed:

  • Hassan Rouhani:         57.14% - 58.00% = -0.86%
  • Ebrahim Raisi:             38.28% - 36.40% = 1.88%

Considering poll’s margin of error of +-3.09%, the predicted results for both candidates fall in the margin of error. This shows IranPoll’s estimation were correct and accurate within the margin of sampling error.

While less commonly known the margin of sampling error does not apply to the spread between the candidates, and only to the percentage point estimates themselves. There are a number of metrics available for quantifying error in election poll estimates. However, in this short summary only the two simplest measures are used. These two same measures were utilized by the “American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR)” in analyzing the polling results of the United States’ 2016 presidential election. The result is published by AAPOR in a paper titled “A Primer on Pre-Election Polls” available here.

The first measure is the “absolute error” on the predicted vote margin which is always a positive number. This is computed as the absolute value of the margin (%Rouhani-%Raisi) in the poll minus the same margin (%Rouhani-%Raisi) in the certified vote.

In the case of IranPoll’s public results, the “absolute error” will be as followed:

“absolute error” = (58.0% - 36.4%) – (57.14% - 38.28%) = 2.74%

The second error measure used by AAPOR is the “signed error” on the projected vote margin. “Signed error” is calculated similar to the “absolute error” but does not take the absolute value and can be positive or negative. In the case of IranPoll’s public results, the “absolute error” and “signed error” remain the same.

As IranPoll continues to publicly make its election polls available, over years the results provided above could be utilized to analyze election polling accuracy in Iran further.

This summary is available in PDF form here.

Pre-election National Opinion Poll (April 2017)

IranPoll is releasing its first round of polling results in anticipation of the upcoming Iranian presidential election.

The study is based on a telephone poll conducted between April 11 and 14, 2017 among a representative sample of 1,005 Iranians. The margin of error is about +/- 3.09%.

Questions in this survey include:

  • Q1. Which of the following best describes your current level of income?
  • Q2. As compared to 4 years ago, has your family’s economic living situation improved, deteriorated, or remained roughly unchanged?
  • Q3. How good or bad is the current economic situation of our country?
  • Q4. Is the economic situation of our country getting better, getting worse, or has remained roughly unchanged?
  • Q5. To what degree President Rouhani has or has not been successful in resolving our country’s economic problems?
  • Q6. Do you think the economic situation of ordinary people has or has not improved as a result of the nuclear deal? [If it has, ask: very, somewhat, or only a little]
  • Q7. What is your opinion of:
    • Rouhani
    • Ahmadinejad
    • Ghalibaf
    • Raisi
    • Baghayi
    • Jahangiri
  • Q8. What is the most important issue facing our country that Iran’s next president should try to address? [Open-ended]
  • Q9. Notwithstanding who you will vote for in the upcoming election, which of the following figures do you think can better accomplish these goals if he were to become Iran’s next president?
  • Q10. How likely do you think it is that President Rouhani might lose in the upcoming presidential election?


The full report with frequency tables is available in PDF form here

    Graphs for the results are provided below:


    Below are links to the articles covering this poll:

    Iranian attitudes about US-Iranian relations in the Trump era

    IranPoll has conducted its most recent poll in Iran for the University of Maryland CISSM shortly after President Trump’s election. The poll covers a wide range of issues, including Iranian people’s attitudes toward Trump, how they evaluate the nuclear deal (JCPOA) a year after the Implementation Day, whether or not they are open to renegotiating the nuclear agreement, and how they plan to vote in Iran’s upcoming presidential election in May of this year.

    The poll with a representative national sample of 1000 Iranians was conducted over telephone from December 10 to 24, 2016. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.2%. University of Maryland CISSM designed the questionnaire.

    The detailed frequency table of the poll could be found here.

    The poll is quite revealing and timely in many aspects. As President Trump talks more and more about the need to review and toughen the nuclear deal that was reached with Iran in July 2015, the new poll shows that a large majority of Iranians oppose making any more concessions even if the US offered to lift more sanctions. Iranian people’s resistance to providing greater concession seems to be rooted in their lack of confidence that the United States would keep its end of the bargain.

    The poll also reveals that support for the JCPOA as its stands is diminishing in Iran. Large Majorities say that contrary to their expectation the deal has not improved the living condition of ordinary Iranians and that the United States is actively obstructing promised sanctions relief.

    Considering that the nuclear deal is regarded to be the most salient accomplishment of President Rouhani, the declining enthusiasm for the JCPOA is also impacting Rouhani’s popularity and chances of re-election in Iran’s May 2017 presidential election. Just as examples, the percentage of Iranians saying they have a “very favorable” opinion of Rouhani has dropped from 61% shortly after the deal was reached in the summer of 2015 to only 28% today and the proportions of people saying they will vote for him in the upcoming election has dropped below half. 


    Event at the Atlantic Council:

    University of Maryland CISSM and Atlantic Council will be holding a panel discussion on Iranian public opinion toward the United States following the election of Donald Trump. The event will present new public opinion poll collected by IranPoll.com for CISSM after the Nov. 2016 election on Iranian attitudes toward domestic and international economic and political issues.

    In particular, the event will explore current Iranian attitudes toward the recent nuclear agreement, President Trump, potential changes in US policy toward Iran, the upcoming Iranian president elections, and Iranian economic policy. 

    The event will be held on January 25, 2017 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Atlantic Council. The event is open to press and on the record.

    For more information and to RSVP, please visit CISSM or Atlantic Council


    Media Coverage:

    Below are links to the articles covering this poll:

    New poll of the Iranian people on the anniversary of nuclear deal (JCPOA)

    Recently IranPoll.com conducted a nationally representative survey of Iranian regarding their perception and assessment of the nuclear deal one year after it was reached. The survey was conducted for the University of Maryland CISSM, which also designed the questionnaire and wrote the report. 

    Further details about our survey methodology is available here. Also, you can learn about our data collection capabilities here.

    Please find the detailed trend and frequency tables of this poll here and the full report here. University of Maryland has also covered this poll here.

    The survey covers a wide range of issues including:

    1. Perception of the nuclear deal one year after it was reached
    2. Rouhani’s standing as Iran’s 2017 Presidential elections nears
    3. Iran’s involvements in Syria
    4. View toward ISIS
    5. Views toward other countries

    A year ago, when the nuclear deal was signed, 63 percent of Iranians said they expected tangible economic improvements within a year. However, a year later, three quarters (74%) of Iranians say there has been no improvement at all.
    Such perceptions appear to be hurting President Hassan Rouhani’s prospects for reelection a year from now. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has closed the gap with Rouhani to just 8 points among likely voters in the next election, from a 27-point gap in May 2015.
    A widely held perception is that the United States is obstructing sanctions relief. Three in four
    Iranians think that the United States is actively preventing other countries from normalizing their trade and economic relations with Iran, contrary to its obligation in the nuclear agreement. Two in three Iranians believe that while the United States has lifted the sanctions it agreed to lift in the nuclear agreement, it is finding other ways to keep the negative effects of those sanctions. This may be contributing to the lack of improvement in views of the United States despite the nuclear deal: very large majorities—currently 73 percent —continue to have a negative view of the United States.
    Eroding confidence in the benefits of the deal may be reducing popular support for it. A year ago and right after the nuclear agreement was signed, 76 percent of Iranians approved of the deal (43% strongly). Today, however, 63 percent approve of the deal (22% strongly).
    Besides not yet receiving the anticipated benefits from the nuclear agreement, some of this
    decline in support for the deal may also be related to the Iranian public gaining a somewhat more accurate understanding of its less popular aspects. A majority (60%, up from 33% last year) now realizes that Iran has accepted limits on its nuclear research. A majority (61%, up from 30% last year) also knows that many U.S. sanctions are not covered by the agreement and will continue.
    Yet, a growing majority continues to believe, inaccurately, that under the deal, the International
    Atomic Energy Agency is not permitted to inspect Iranian military sites under any conditions
    (64%, up from 61% last year).

    Below are links to the articles covering this poll: