Latif Dalyan offers shirts and sweatpants at knock-down prices to Turkey’s earthquake victims from a storefront surrounded by piles of debris. The last person the 58-year-old shopkeeper wants to blame for his ruined city’s troubles is the country’s president. “If there is one man who can make this country stand up again, it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Dalyan said near the February quake’s epicentre in the city of Kahramanmaras. “May God give every country a leader like him.” Dalyan’s fervour contrasts sharply with the cries of pain and anger that rang out when the 7.8-magnitude jolt and its aftershocks wiped out swathes of Turkey’s mountainous southeast in February. Anguished survivors listened to loved ones slowly perish under mounds of rubble in the freezing cold. Many blamed the government and its stuttering response to Turkey’s worst disaster of its modern era for a death toll that has now surpassed 50,000. But that fury is gradually giving way to a mixture of fatalism and reviving trust in the man this province gave three-fourths of its votes to in the last general election in 2018. That spells trouble for the opposition’s hopes of ending Erdogan’s two-decade domination of Turkey in new polls set for May 14. “Nobody can be perfect and no government can be perfect,” Dalyan said. “Everyone can make mistakes.” Aydin Erdem, director of the KONDA research firm, found something similar in polls conducted across Turkey’s disaster zone. “Our surveys do not support claims that the (ruling party’s) vote dropped a lot because of what happened,” Erdem told Turkish media this week. “The electorate is consolidating around their respective parties.” The presidential and parliamentary votes next month are widely seen as the most important of Turkey’s post-Ottoman history. Erdogan and his Islamic-rooted party have shaped society in their image and tested the strength of Turkey’s secular traditions. Critics accuse them of mismanaging the economy and using the courts to silence critics and imprison political foes. The government’s sluggish search and rescue effort appeared to offer the united opposition a chance to capitalise on this discontent. Cem Yildiz does not quite see it that way. The 34-year-old deputy head of CHP, the main opposition party in the Kahramanmaras province, has done almost no campaigning to date. He says he fears that pushing people to vote during a moment of profound grief is both indecent and self-defeating.