The popularity of Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who was nominated by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) in last year’s city election, has rubbed off on the party.
The PDI-P is now seen as the most electable political party in the country, an opinion poll has found.
The National Survey Institute (LSN) found that 20.5 percent of respondents would vote for the party if a legislative election was held today.
“The Jokowi effect” caused the party’s popularity to rise sharply with 9.5 percent of people saying that the governor’s affiliation with the PDI-P would persuade them to vote for the party.
A little over 20 percent of those who opted for the PDI-P chose the party because of its reputation as the party of the common people.
The leadership of Megawati Soekarnoputri has also contributed to the popularity of the party.
More than 7 percent of the PDI-P supporters said that they would vote for the party in the election because of Megawati’s leadership.
“There are many media reports about Jokowi’s great performance. This publicity has driven the public to admire him.
“Basically, this is not about his performance but more about the perception of his performance. This perception is built by the media,” executive director of the LSN Umar Bakry said during a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday.
Looking at the numbers, Umar said that Jokowi would be better suited to being PDI-P’s presidential candidate than Megawati, who is already a two-time loser in presidential elections.
“There is a gap of popularity between Jokowi and Megawati. Jokowi is the new party icon. If Megawati insists on running, she will not succeed,” he suggested.
Jokowi, who was only elected Jakarta governor in September, has publicly opposed plans to nominate him for president.
Jokowi, has persistently claimed he wants to focus on Jakarta’s manifold problems, principally traffic congestion to flooding.
Some PDI-P politicians, including the paty’s secretary-general Tjahjo Kumolo, have hinted that the party might be warming to the idea of nominating Jokowi in 2014.
Aside from the Jokowi effect, the popularity of the PDI-P has been enhanced by its success in building a good image for itself as an opposition party with other parties like the People’s Conscience (Hanura) Party and the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party.
A majority of those questioned believe the PDI-P, the NasDem Party and Gerindra have the most potential to bring about change.
The survey also found the Golkar Party and Gerindra in second and third places with approval ratings of 19.2 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively.
The nascent Hanura party collected 6.2 percent of preferences while the NasDems picked up 5.3 percent.
The survey shows the popularity of the ruling Democratic Party has plunged further from its failure to deal with numerous corruption scandals.
The party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono got 4.3 percent approval, only slightly ahead of the National Mandate Party (PAN) with 4.1 percent.
The Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party performed better than either of them with 4.6 percent approval.
The respondents considered the Democratic Party, the PKS and Golkar the most corrupt.
LSN interviewed 1,230 people from 33 provinces between Feb. 26 and March 15.