A survey has revealed that the country will see a higher voter turnout for this year's presidential election if Jakarta Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo were to join the race.
The survey, released on Wednesday by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting ( SMRC ), showed a spike in the percentage of respondents who would vote if Jokowi was listed as a presidential candidate.
The survey, which was conducted from Dec. 19 to Dec. 27, 2013 involving 1,220 respondents and with a 2.9 percent margin of error, revealed that only 15 percent of respondents said they would vote for leaders of top political parties running for president.
They are Great Indonesia Movement ( Gerindra ) Party chief patron Prabowo Subianto, People's Conscience ( Hanura ) Party chairman Wiranto, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle ( PDI-P ) chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri and Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie.
The figure rose to 40 percent when Jokowi was included among the contenders. 'Jokowi can lower the number of undecided voters and make them willing to vote for a president,' SMRC research director Djayadi Hanan said.
The SMRC said the number of undecided voters had declined from 68 percent in December 2011 ' before the election of Jokowi as Jakarta governor, which catapulted him to political stardom ' to 51 percent in December 2013. 'Jokowi has an effect that makes people feel more certain about voting,' Djayadi said. The survey predicted that Jokowi could win the election in a single round, even if he only ran for vice president.
According to the survey, Jokowi would gain 51 percent of the vote should he battle it out with Prabowo and Aburizal. Prabowo would have to settle for second place with 22.2 percent, while Aburizal trailed behind him with 12.5 percent.
'If Megawati took Jokowi as her vice-presidential candidate, then there is also a possibility that the presidential election would go to only one round, with Megawati and Jokowi coming out as the winners,' Djayadi said.
Should Megawati pair up with Jokowi, 49 percent would vote for them, while only 18 percent would vote for Prabowo and 17 percent for Aburizal, according to the survey.
But if Megawati paired up with top executives of other political parties, such as National Democrat ( NasDem ) Party chairman Surya Paloh, Democratic Party convention participant and former Army chief Gen. ( ret ) Pramono Edhie Wibowo or Hanura Party chief patron Hary Tanoesoedibjo, then she would lose to Prabowo, the survey added.
'No other political leader could help Megawati beat Prabowo, except for Jokowi,' said Djayadi. 'He has such a strong effect that it could enable Megawati to beat Prabowo and Ical [Aburizal].'
PDI-P officials have acknowledged that Jokowi has boosted the party's popularity, saying the Jakarta governor's popularity extended to remote areas.
The party, however, said there was no rush to nominate a presidential candidate. Megawati has pledged to put off naming the party's presidential candidate until after April's legislative election.