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Megawati back in the game

The popularity of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri has rebounded, with the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) publishing the results of its latest survey that places the former president at the top of its electability list.

In an opinion poll released on Sunday, the LSI announced that 20.7 percent of voters would vote for her if a presidential election was held today, a significant improvement compared to the results of previous surveys by pollsters.

The survey also shows Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie has significantly improved his electability rating by coming second, with 20.3 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him. Until recently, opinion polls showed Aburizal’s electability rating in single digits.

The LSI also found that the perennial favorite, chief patron of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Prabowo Subianto, came in third place with a 19.2 percent approval rating.

The survey, conducted in the first two weeks of March, interviewed 1,200 people and had a margin of error of 3 percent.

LSI researcher Adjie Alfaraby said loyal supporters of Megawati and the PDI-P were responsible for the surge in Megawati’s electability despite the little media coverage given to her.

“The fact that she was a former president and has already secured a spot in the presidential election will give her the bulk of loyal voters,” he said.

Adjie said that rural voters made up the majority of Megawati’s support.

“Around 70 percent of these voters live in rural areas and they don’t have the same access to information as the middle-class in major cities,” Adjie said.

There was a consistent trend in Megawati’s electability rating, Adjie went on.

He said that in an LSI survey released in October last year, Megawati had also come out on top.

“The same goes for Prabowo. Despite his alleged involvement in human rights violations, a lot of people see him as a very charismatic leader due to his military background,” he explained.

The LSI said Aburizal’s significant jump in the poll could be attributed to the consistent performance of Golkar.

“Golkar always has the highest electability rating in any survey, and that has impacted on the total votes received by Aburizal,” Adjie said.

In its latest survey, the LSI found that Golkar would receive the most votes (22.2 percent) followed by the PDI-P (18.8 percent) and the Democratic Party (11.7 percent).

In the survey, the LSI removed candidates who had yet to receive support from political parties, like former vice president Jusuf Kalla and outgoing Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mahfud MD.

In November last year, the LSI released a poll in which 79 percent of a total 223 respondents said that Kalla and Mahfud were among the top five of the most capable presidential candidates, along with Dahlan Iskan and Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

The LSI said the votes received by Aburizal would definitely have been lower if Kalla had been included in the poll.

In early March, the National Leadership Center and international research institution Taylor Nelson Sofres, found in an opinion poll that 35 percent of respondents would nominate Prabowo as their preferred candidate, while 20 percent would choose Megawati and 12 percent would choose Kalla.

However, the rise of Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has served to dent Prabowo’s electability rating.

A public opinion poll conducted by the Jakarta Survey Institute (LSJ) in February found that Jokowi was the most preferable candidate for the 2014 presidential election, with 21.2 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him if the election was held today. (nad)

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