Blow for Prabowo's Election Challenge After Pollsters Refuse Audits

Two quick count providers were expelled from the country's pollster association on July 16 after they denied access to auditors.

By : Camelia Pasandaran & Markus Junianto Sihaloho | on 10:06 PM July 16, 2014
Category : News, Politics, Featured

Jakarta. Prabowo Subianto’s claim to have won Indonesia’s presidential election was dealt a significant blow on Wednesday after two survey institutions which showed he was victorious on July 9 were booted from the country’s polling association.

Indonesia voted on July 9 to elect a successor to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Most credible quick count providers with a margin for error of 1 percent had Joko ahead of Prabowo by around five percentage points. Prabowo refused to concede defeat on July 9, however, and has maintained that the quick count providers his campaign uses have given him "the mandate of the Indonesian people."

Hamdi Moloek, a member of the ethics council at the Public Opinion Survey Association (Persepi), told the Jakarta Globe that two of these providers — Puskaptis and JSI — were no longer part of the organization because they had refused to be audited.

“Puskaptis’s membership has been terminated,” Hamdi said. “Regarding JSI, it withdrew before we decided to oust it from the association.”

Hamdi said JSI's membership would have been terminated had it not left on its own initiative.

The two other pollsters that showed Prabowo and his running mate Hatta Rajasa were victorious, the National Survey Institute (LSN) and the Indonesia Research Center (IRC), were not members of Persepi.

Eight of Indonesia’s most respected survey companies showed that Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla won the election by a margin of between three and five percentage points.

However, Prabowo, citing the four quick count results that showed him ahead, has said he was confident the formal electoral count would show he was the victor.

In addition to terminating the membership of Puskaptis and JSI, Hamdi said that Persepi would recommend that the General Election Commission (KPU) prohibit the pollsters from conducting quick counts again.

“We have sent a letter to the KPU not to allow them to undertake quick counts in forthcoming elections,” Hamdi said.

Persepi has asked all its members to be audited, including those whose quick counts showed Joko won.

Seven out of the eight organizations that said Joko won the election have already been audited.

They included the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), Cyrus, Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI), Polltracking Institute, Populi Center and Indikator Politik Indonesia.

The other company which showed the Joko-Kalla ticket to have won was state-broadcaster RRI.

Persepi concluded that the sampling method of the seven pollsters was correct and the quick counts were conducted with sound procedures.

“The pollsters that have been audited have explained the process and the calculation method of the quick count,” said Hari Wijayanto, head of the ethics council.

When contacted by the Jakarta Globe, the director of Puskaptis, Husin Yazid, refused to comment.

“Why are you calling at this hour? This is fast-breaking time,” Husin said.

In a recent interview with Majalah Detik, Husin said that he was ready to shut down his polling business if the final election result was different to his quick count result.

“My methodology is clear,” Husin was quoted as saying by Majalah Detik. “I used 1,250 samples with margin of error of 1 percent and a reliability of 95 percent. [The samples were] picked proportionally from between 130 and 150 districts in 33 provinces.”

Husin, who was once saved by police in Palembang when an angry mob accused him of manipulating quick counts, said that he funded the Rp 20 billion ($1.7 million) quick count himself.


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