Bhutto's Party Holds Big Lead in Survey

Al-Qaeda support declines in 1st poll since assassination
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2008 10:16 AM CST
Pakistani men and women wait for the bus at a station covered with election posters in central Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008. Pakistan's parliamentary elections were postponed after the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People’s Party holds a solid lead going into next week’s elections, according to a poll commissioned by a US organization associated with members of the 9/11 commission. Some 37% of Pakistanis surveyed said they would support the secular PPP, to 12% for Pervez Musharraf’s Muslim party. The party of Nawaz Sharif, the other ex-PM active in the opposition, came in second with 25%.

The PPP’s lead is not decisive, reports the Press Association, because Pakistan’s winner-takes-all electoral system rewards local victories, and the PPP depends on broad support across the entire country. Support for Islamic extremists, including Osama bin Laden, is down from 46% in August to 24%. The poll suggests that Pakistanis are increasingly wary of religious-based government, the Dawn newspaper reports.