Despite Favorable Polls, Megawati Not Celebrating
Although grateful that a recent voter survey found she was the most popular potential candidate for president in 2014, Megawati Sukarnoputri said she was not counting her chickens just yet.
A poll by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting, established by former Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) executive director Saiful Mujani, found earlier this week that Megawati was the frontrunner among the possible candidates.
“I’m grateful if [my popularity] is high now,” Megawati said at her home in South Jakarta on Wednesday.
“But it could slip at any time. The survey is just a picture.”
Megawati received a positive response from 93.7 percent of the survey’s 1,219 respondents. She was followed by Jusuf Kalla, the former vice president and ex-Golkar Party chairman, who came in with 88.9 percent.
Megawati said that she did not focus too much on poll results and that what really concerned her was the strength of the party she chaired, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which propelled her to the presidency in 2001.
“Most important for me in facing the 2014 general election is that my party is solid and that the elections can run democratically,” she said.
Megawati, who was vice president under Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, said it was important that voters had maximum freedom to choose their own leaders. In that vein, she said, it was important that flaws from the 2009 elections be fixed ahead of 2014.
PDI-P secretary general Tjahjo Kumolo said that the party would consider the survey results in its decision to pick a presidential candidate, but that it was still too early to make the call.
Political opinion polls, often funded by special interests connected to the candidates, are not the most reliable indicators of voter sentiment, though they sometimes turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. Usman Hamid, founder of the Public Virtue Institute, said earlier this week that polling agencies often adjusted their methodologies to favor the candidates they preferred.
“Most surveys offer a shallow interpretation of democracy,” he said.