Karzai ahead in polls but run-off possible: Survey 
Agence France-Presse

KABUL — Support for President Hamid Karzai’s re-election in Afghanistan has increased but he may be forced into a second round run-off, according to a survey released by a US organisation Friday.
Forty-four percent of 2,400 Afghan men and women polled in mid-July said they would vote for Karzai on August 20 at Afghanistan’s second presidential election, the US-based International Republican Institute group said.

This was up from 31 percent in a similar poll in May, but still short of the more than 50 percent he needs to avoid a run-off, the survey said.
Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah ranked second in the latest poll with 26 percent — up from seven percent, it said.

Independent candidate Ramazan Bashardost stood at 10 percent, up from three percent in May, and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani doubled his support to six percent, the survey said.
The survey found that 90 percent of Afghans expressed willingness to vote in the election. There have been fears that the threat of Taliban attacks would deter many of the 17 million electorate from going to the polls.

The leading issues that voters want the next government to prioritise are security at 30 percent, the economy and jobs at 22 percent and reconstruction and development at 11 percent, the Institute said.
The group describes itself as a nonpartisan organisation that aims to advance democracy but features prominent US Republicans on its board, such as its chairman — former presidential candidate John McCain.

The organisation put the margin of error at two percent.

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