Retired general Prabowo Subianto has again emerged as Indonesians’ preferred presidential candidate, this time in a survey by the Center for Policy Studies and Strategic Development released on Monday.
Husin Yazid, director of the center known as Puskaptis, said that after surveying 1,850 eligible voters in all 33 provinces from Jan. 22 to Feb. 2, it found that 16.4 percent of respondents said they would vote for Prabowo if the 2014 presidential election were held today.
Prabowo, who founded the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), also topped a recent survey conducted by the Indonesia Survey Institute (LSI), receiving support from 39 percent of 2,050 voters polled.
According to the Puskaptis survey, 14.6 percent of respondents said they would vote for Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa, followed by Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie with 13.5 percent. Former President Megawati Sukarnoputri won the favor of 13 percent and Akbar Tandjung, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, garnered 12.7 percent.
The Puskaptis poll also found that Golkar was the most popular party, with 16.6 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the party.
“Golkar was chosen by our respondents because people perceive the party as having shown good performance in fighting for people’s aspirations compared to other parties,” Husin said.
The ruling Democratic Party, he said, was less popular than Golkar, with the support of just 14.3 percent, while Megawati’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) came in a close third with 13.9 percent.
“These two parties [Democratic and PDI-P] are neck and neck,” Husin said.
All other parties polled less than 5 percent. Hatta’s National Mandate Party (PAN) and Prabowo’s Gerindra tied for fourth place with 4.8 percent, while conservative Islamic parties the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the United Development Party (PPP) received 4.6 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.
The National Awakening Party (PKB) garnered 3.9 percent of the vote, and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) managed just 1 percent.
But even the most popular party, Golkar, could not claim a landslide victory.
About 30 percent of voters surveyed indicated they were still undecided on party preference, Husin said. That uncertainty leaves plenty of room for political jockeying among the parties, with more than two years until presidential and legislative elections.
Yudi Latief, a political observer from the Reform Institute, said the Democratic Party should not have been in the top three, pointing to its declining popularity as high-profile corruption cases weigh on some of its members.
“The Democratic Party scores high in the survey despite the fact that the public loathes it. We have to re-examine the survey’s outcome. What is wrong with society?” Yudi said.
Other surveys have also found that the beleaguered ruling party is losing popularity, ceding ground to both Golkar and the PDI-P.
Most parties have not named candidates for the presidential election, with the exception of Golkar and the PAN, which have indicated they will nominate their respective chairmen, Aburizal and Hatta.