Statistics and Politics

“Admitting defeat is accepting democracy”


By Babar Zaman

I wish best of luck and congratulate PML(N) for victory in NA-120 bye-election (BE). No doubt, in this difficult time when Nawaz Sharif (NS) has been disqualified from Supreme Court in Panama verdict, this win will boost morale of the party and its workers. If we compare 2017-BE with that of 2013 general election (GE) in the same constituency, the statistics are brutal for PML(N).

Actually PML(N) is losing its strength as compared to 2013-GE. Let’s talk about Figure 1, in 2013-GE, out of total cast votes (153328), Nawaz led party gained 91,666 (59.80%) and secured wining position. PTI got 52,321 (34.15%) which is almost half of PML(N) vote cast. Others parties including PPP and JUI gained insignificant votes against to both parties(Figure 1).

Now take very close look in 2017-BE- of NA-120. PML(N) again secured its position. This time around, PML-N fielded Mrs. Kulsoom Nawaz against PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid. Mrs Kulsoom Nawaz won the seat by taking (61745) 48.67% (see Figures 2&3)which is almost 11% less votes as compare to GE-2013 that was 59.80%, while Dr. Yasmin Rashid got 47099 (37.13%) votes that is almost 3% higher as compared to GE-13 (see Figures 2 & 3).

Total turn out casts votes in BE-2017 is 39.43% that is almost 12.47 % less of 2013-GE ((51.9%) (see Figure 4). But there is also a very serious fact which speaks loudly in statistical language. PML(N) is running the federal government from last 4 and a half years and in province (Punjab) almost for 10 years and still losing votes in NA-120. It is very alarming for PML(N) team and its supporters.

In last four and half years, PML(N) lost almost 12% votes. On the other hand, the PTI votes have been increased by almost 3% which is very significant.

As per year, PML(N) losing approximately 2.5% votes, while PTI is gaining 0.66% votes per year. If the condition remains constant, in 2018-GE, may PML(N) loss 13.60% vote bank and the PTI will gain 3.64% more votes as compared to 2013-GE. Let’s suppose, in 2018-GE, turn out is 177000 (55%) out of 321786, because in GE turn out is increasing according to prior results (Figure 5.).


So, PML(N) will get around 81420 (59.80%-13.6= 46.20%) votes and PTI will gain around 66870 (34.15%+3.64%=37.80%). According to statistical analysis, PML-N will again win the seatin 2018-GE by taking almost 8.5% higher votes against PTI (see Figure 6). Figure 5 showed, in 2002-GE turnout was very low, maybe people did not come out to cast their vote because of GE was under martial law.

There is no doubt, Panama verdict against Nawaz Sharif also contributed to loss votes, but how much it is very hard to determine. Recently, finance minister Ishaq Dar arrest warrant has been issued, Khawaja Asif Iqama case is also in court, Mrs Kulsoom Nawaz eligibility has been challenged, Ch Nasir conflict with the party leaders and many other issues within and out of PML(N) will leave great influence on upcoming 2018-GE. On the other side, PTI still away from ground facts particularly in Punjab but individuals like PPP stalwart Ch Nazar Muhammad Gondal etc. have joined PTI which increase the probability of PTI to win in Punjab.


Babar Zaman (data journalist) is PhD student of Statistics in Department of Mathematics, University Technology of Malaysia, Johor Bahru. He can be reached at

Disclaimer: This guest post contains statistical analysis based on real facts and 2018-GE result is based on forecasting model. May someone have different opinions and future results can deviate. The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Data Stories.

Main image: CIRP