The Jakarta Post
A recent survey conducted by pollster Indo Barometer found Anies Baswedan to be the strongest presidential candidate in a hypothetical electoral race that pitted six regional heads against each other.
Conducted from Jan. 9 to 15 involving 1,200 participants across 34 provinces, the survey shows that Anies is the reigning favorite, with 31.7 percent of respondents expressing their support for the governor. He triumphs over Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo (11.8 percent), Surabaya Mayor Tri “Risma” Rismaharini in East Java (9.9 percent), West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil (8.2 percent), East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa (5.6 percent) and South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah (0.8 percent).
Anies was also found to be the most recognizable candidate, with 91.7 percent recognizability, followed by Ridwan (65.8 percent) and Khofifah (55.8 percent), then Risma at 49.4 percent recognizability, Ganjar at 47.8 percent and Nurdin with 10.7 percent.
Indo Barometer executive director M. Qodari said that despite Anies’ recognizability, he still needed to tread carefully.
“If the popularity of Ridwan, Ganjar or Risma reaches 90 percent, the dynamics will change,” Qodari said on Sunday.
He went on to say that Anies’ popularity could largely be attributed to his current position as the governor of Jakarta, even though the city accounts for only 4 percent of the national population. Anies also has the advantage of constantly being in the media spotlight, especially on television, practically extending his reach to every person across Indonesia, he said.
“This is where the adage ‘the Jakarta governor is a president-flavored governor’ comes from,” Qodari said.
Analysts said that like President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, a former Jakarta governor, Anies would also use his position at City Hall as a stepping stone to the State Palace.
Regardless of their popularity, every presidential candidate must also include other important variables in the electoral equation — such as work performance — to win the public over, Qodari said.
“Ultimately, those who are both popular and maintain the best performance will win the most votes from the Indonesian people,” he said. (rfa)