Survey shows Prabowo’s growing popularity among voters
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(Antara/M Agung Rajasa)
Former Army general Prabowo Subianto seems to be the main contender for anyone contesting the 2014 presidential election as a recent survey points to his growing popularity among voters.
Prabowo, who helped found the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party, would likely win against President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono if a presidential election were held now, a survey has found.
A survey by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) revealed that 44 percent of respondents would support Prabowo while only 18 percent said they would vote for Yudhoyono in a head-to-head poll.
Despite high support for Prabowo, more than 30 percent of respondents were still undecided.
“Even though most of the respondents would cast their vote for Prabowo, 31 percent of voters were undecided. This means a lot of people are still in doubt over whether or not to choose Prabowo as a president,” CSIS’s political and international department head Philips J. Vermonte said at a media briefing on Wednesday.
“SBY’s image as a slow and indecisive figure creates opportunities for presidential candidates who have the opposite character,” he said, referring to the President by his initials.
The survey, which involved 1,480 respondents in 32 provinces from July 6-19, also showed that 17.9 percent of voters would vote for Prabowo in the presidential election against other presidential candidates including Megawati (15.3 percent), Jusuf Kalla (11.5 percent), Aburizal Bakrie (10 percent) and Wiranto (4.1 percent).
“The finding of the survey has changed significantly compared to that in February that saw Megawati as a leading candidate with 10 percent of total respondents’ support her for president,” Philips said, adding that only 6.7 percent of respondents said they would choose Prabowo in the previous survey.
The survey not only questioned respondents about their presidential preference but also their political party choice.
The results show that largest portion of respondents, 18 percent, supported the Golkar Party, followed by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) with 11.6 percent, Democratic Party (11 percent), Gerindra (5.2 percent) and the United Development Party (3 percent).
Support for Golkar increased 7.5 percent compared to the CSIS’s survey finding in February. The percentage of those supporting PDI-P increased by 3.8 percent. The Democratic Party, however, fell by 1.5 percent from its position in the last survey.
“The Democratic Party keeps on sinking. In the general election in 2009, the party won 21 percent of the vote but according to today’s survey, they are supported by 11 percent of respondents,” Philips said.
“Golkar and Gerindra are two parties that would likely get support from Democratic Party voters who are not satisfied with the performance of SBY,” he added.
The CSIS surveys conducted in February and July show similar linkages between the levels of support for a political leader and the parties’ popularity.
“Most of the voters in Indonesia think that all political figures and presidential candidates are not feasible. In other words, the voters were being [preempted] by the parties and presidential candidates. The voters have no other choices,” Philips said.
According to Siti Zuhro of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), the survey findings showed that the public is not satisfied with Yudhoyono’s performance.
“The public is disappointed and not satisfied with the performance of the ruling government, due to the graft scandals that have occurred both in the central and regional government. Those scandals shift SBY’s popularity to other presidential
candidates,” Siti said.
“Prabowo is identified as having a strong leadership style, unlike SBY who is known for his gentleness, which has apparently failed to win people’s hearts,” she added.
CSIS’ findings correspond with the findings of a recent survey jointly conducted by researchers from the Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta and the Airlangga University (Unair) in Surabaya, East Java.
The two universities found that several corruption cases implicating Democratic Party politicians and the administration’s poor performance would persuade voters to abandon Yudhoyono’s political machine.(nad)