Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is favored to win reelection in 2019, while the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDIP, is expected to sweep the vote in the general elections in the same year, a new survey conducted by the Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting, or SMRC, showed.
However, a high percentage of swing voters due to low party identification in Indonesia can generate unpredictable results in the next few years' elections.
The survey, published on Tuesday (02/01), was based on interviews conducted on Dec. 7-13 and randomly sampled 1,220 respondents eligible to vote from all of the country's 34 provinces.
More than 53 percent of respondents said they will choose Jokowi for president when a list of candidates is given, while Prabowo Subianto, founder of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), garnered 18.5 percent of potential votes and former-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono garnered 2.6 percent.
When the question was presented as an open-ended one, 38.9 percent of respondents indicated support for Jokowi, followed by Prabowo at 10.5 percent and Susilo at 1.4 percent.
"At the moment, our survey showed that Jokowi doesn’t have a new opponent. It’s currently still Prabowo Subianto," SMRC executive director, Djayadi Hanan, said at a press conference in Central Jakarta.
Jokowi is still favored to win if his main challenger remains Prabowo, according to the survey.
The survey indicated high electability for PDIP, which was favored by 27.6 percent of respondents when given a list of political parties to choose from.
The Golongan Karya Party (Golkar) garnered the second-highest level of support according to the survey, followed by Gerindra and the Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat).
Djayadi said support for PDIP is stronger when "members of the public identify PDIP as Jokowi’s supporting party." Around 20 percent of respondents based their choice for PDIP on the fact that Jokowi is its most visible member, he added.
Furthermore, the survey also showed Golkar’s electability improving if it nominates Jokowi.
The Swing Voter Phenomenon
At a press conference on Tuesday, Djayadi said Indonesia has a significant percentage of swing voters who are likely to affect the dynamics of political competition in Southeast Asia's largest country.
Results of the 2014 Legislative Elections revealed that more than 38 percent of all eligible voters in the country can be classified as swing voters.
SMRC’s recent survey also showed that 43.1 percent of respondents did not indicate support for any party when prompted with an open-ended question, and almost 20 percent did not indicate support when a list of political parties was given. A similar trend was observed in the case of presidential candidates as well.
"Indonesian voters tend to shift support from one party to the next between elections … this fact also indicates that voters are open and will demand political parties to work harder to secure their vote," Djayadi said.
He added that the only party experiencing an increase in public support since the 2014 election has been PDIP.
The high percentage of swing voters, according to SMRC, is due to the fact that Indonesians generally lack party identification, or loyalty to a specific party.
About 12 percent of Indonesians strongly identify with a single political party, SMRC said. In comparison, party identification has been recorded at 95 percent in Belgium, 57 percent in the United States and about 38 percent in Japan.
Djayadi added that the lack of swing voters among PDIP supporters is due to party's connection with Jokowi and its ability to attract voters from other parties.