Joko a Favorite for President Among the Middle Class: Survey

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo. (JG Photo)

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo. (JG Photo)

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is the top choice for president among middle-class and urban voters if the presidential election was held today, but a majority of voters have yet to make up their mind, a new survey has revealed.

A survey by Publica Research and Consultant released on Wednesday showed that Joko, aligned with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), attracted support from 16 percent of respondents.

Next was retired army general Prabowo Subianto, the founder the Great Indonesian Movement Party (Gerindra), with 8 percent of support, the unaligned outgoing Constitutional Court chief judge Mahfud M.D. with 4 percent, former vice president Jusuf Kalla, now without a party, with 2 percent, unaligned State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan with 2 percent, Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie with 1 percent, and PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri with 1 percent.

But PRC noted that 60 percent of respondents did not indicate their preference for president.

“The emergence of Joko Widodo as a national figure with high popularity and electability no longer comes as a surprise,” said Rahadi Wiratama, PRC’s research director.

Joko was backed by 18 percent of respondents in Java, and 13 percent of people living in other parts of the country.

Prabowo was supported by 7.8 percent people who lived in Java and by 8.1 percent people living outside Java.

Joko was the preferred candidate of 18 percent of respondents with incomes below Rp 1 million ($100) per month, and the choice of 21 percent of respondents with incomes above Rp 5 million per month.

Asked what qualities they wanted in a president, 40 percent of respondents said they wanted a figure who could improve people’s welfare, 18 percent said they wanted someone who did not engage in corruption and 11 percent wanted a figure with broad public support.

“Therefore, the figures who are going to compete must show their commitment and seriousness in promoting pro-people programs,” Rahadi said. M. Yamin, from the PRC board of trustees, said it was clear that Joko had the characteristics people said they sought in their leader.

The Feb. 18 to 21 telephone survey polled middle-income people across all 33 Indonesian provinces. It involved 1,300 respondents with a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

Despite leading several surveys on possible candidates for the 2014 presidential election, Joko appears unlikely to run.

Analysts say that Joko will have to be content to remain as governor if Megawati, a former president, decides to run for the nation’s highest seat.

Megawati has several times hinted at a run in 2014 despite losing to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2004 and 2009. Several PDI-P officials have said that Joko should concentrate on solving Jakarta’s problems.

The governor was elected to a five-year term in the capital last year.