Political polling is an imperfect science at best (just ask any of the respected pollsters in the US who predicted Donald Trump would win – oh wait, there weren’t any…) so one shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from a single poll. But based on the last two major surveys of voters about their picks for the upcoming Jakarta governor election (which takes place in less than 3 weeks!) it would appear that the incumbent, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, has bounced back from the controversy surrounding his blasphemy trial to take a commanding lead in the polls.
The latest survey comes from pollster Indikator Politik and shows the candidate pair of Ahok and his running mate Djarot Saiful Hidayat being chosen by 38.2% of respondents. Candidates Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno came in second place with 23.8% while Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and Sylviana Murni came in just behind them with 23.6% of the vote. About 14.5% of respondents were undecided.
The poll was taken from January 12-20 (so mostly after the first official gubernatorial debate on January 13). Results of the survey showed that respondents believed Ahok-Djarot did a much better job than the other candidates in explaining their policies during the debate and being positive about their explanations.
The results of the Indikator poll track closely with another post-debate poll, conducted by the Populi Center, which showed Ahok-Djarot in first place 36.7%, Anies-Sandiaga in second with 28.5% and Agus-Sylviana are in third with 25% of the vote.
Both polls indicate a reversal of the trends, shown in several polls conducted in November and December of last year, which showed Agus-Syviana in the lead and Ahok-Djarot far behind. Ahok’s slumping popularity in those poll could be attributed to the massive protests against him organized by Islamic hardliners in those months.
Another result of the new Indikator poll is that Muslim voters seem to have generally forgiven Ahok, or at least no longer see the blasphemy allegations against him as a voting issue. Out of all the Muslim voters polled by Indikator, 31.9% selected Ahok as their candidate of choice, a 13.3% increase from their poll in November. Their data also shows that voters increasingly believe in the sincerity of Ahok’s apologies over the incident
Indikator’s poll was based on face-to-face interviews with 808 people selected through a multistage stratified random sampling method giving their data a margin of error of about +/- 3.8%.