Photo courtesy of Daily Mirror

In April polling for Institute for Health Policy’s (IHP) Sri Lanka Opinion Tracker Survey (SLOTS) MRP tracking of Presidential Election voting intent, support among likely voters for A.K. Dissanayake, NPP/JVP leader, slipped to 45% but was still ahead of Sajith Premadasa, SJB leader on 37%. The decline in support for A.K. Dissanayake largely benefitted President Ranil Wickremesinghe who gained 3 points to 13% and the generic SLPP candidate who gained 1 point to 6%. Estimates are associated with a margin of error of 1-4%.

The gains in support by President Wickremesinghe in April are consistent with increases in support for the UNP in the SLOTS General Election Voting Intent Tracker and recent improvements in consumer confidence. They add to evidence that the recent IMF agreement and stabilization in some economic indicators has led to increased support for the President and his party but not the SLPP.

Dr. Ravi Rannan-Eliya, SLOTS lead investigator and IHP Executive Director, said, “The recent trends in voting intention continues to point to a failure by Sajith Premadasa to pick up support from former Gotabaya Rajapaksa voters. As of April 2023, only one in five former Rajapaksa voters preferred Sajith Premadasa over other potential candidates. These former Rajapaksa voters have mostly switched to A.K. Dissanayake and President Wickremesinghe, and fluctuations in support in recent months have largely involved voters shifting from one to the other.”

SLOTS combines interviews from a national sample of adults (ages 18 and over) reached by random digit dialling of mobile numbers, and others coming from a national panel of respondents who were previously recruited through random selection. IHP estimates voting intent using an adaptation of Multilevel Regression and Post-Stratification (MRP), with multiple imputation to account for uncertainties in its modelling, exploiting data from all SLOTS interviews to estimate voting in a particular month.

The April 2023 MRP estimates are based on 580 interviews conducted in April 2023, and 11,368 interviews conducted overall from 31 August 2021–19 May 2023, with a margin of error assessed as 3–4% for AK Dissanayake and Sajith Premadasa, and 1–3% for the other two potential candidates. All estimates are adjusted to ensure the sample matches the national population with respect to age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education, geographical location, and voting in the 2019 Presidential and 2020 General Elections.