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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 leads to dissatisfaction toward democracy, govt but not Jokowi, survey finds

  • Nina A. Loasana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, June 8, 2020   /   08:18 pm
COVID-19 leads to dissatisfaction toward democracy, govt but not Jokowi, survey finds President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visits the emergency room of a new COVID-19 hospital at the former athletes village in Kemayoran in Jakarta on March 23. Antara/Hafidz Mubarak A (Antara/Hafidz Mubarak A)

A recent survey conducted by Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia has found that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo’s approval rating remains high even as the COVID-19 outbreak leads to growing dissatisfaction with his administration and democracy in general.

The survey, which was conducted from May 16 to 18 and polled 1,200 respondents from all the country’s 34 provinces, found that 56.4 percent of respondents were satisfied with the central government’s COVID-19 response, a sharp decline from 70.8 percent who said they were satisfied in a similar survey in February.

The survey also found that public satisfaction with democracy in general dropped significantly compared with February. Only 49.5 percent of the respondents said they were quite satisfied or very satisfied with the democratic system, compared with 75.6 percent in February.

“This is the lowest level [of satisfaction with democracy] in the past 16 years,” Indikator executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi said in a press conference about the survey on Sunday. “Democracy seems to be the foremost victim of the COVID-19 response.”

However, despite the growing dissatisfaction with the government, Jokowi’s approval ratings only decreased slightly to 66.5 percent from 69.5 percent in February.

Burhanuddin said that a possible explanation for this disparity was partisanship - Jokowi’s approval rating among those who voted for Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 elections (48.3 percent) was significantly lower than that among those who voted for Jokowi (77.3 percent).

The survey also found split opinions among the public in regard to the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) with most low-income respondents supporting the government's plan to relax the PSBB in several regions while higher-income respondents disagreed.

Around 60.7 percent of respondents also said that the government should prioritize health matters in its response to the outbreak, while 33.9 percent of respondents said it should prioritize the economy.