First new poll results of 2019 shows Jokowi still with commanding lead over Prabowo, 54.9% to 34.8%

President candidates incumbent President Joko Widodo (2nd R) and Prabowo (2nd L) and vice president candidates Maruf Amin (R) and Sandiaga Uno (L) sing Indonesia’s national anthem before the draw for 2019 presidential election at election commission office in Jakarta, on September 21, 2018. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)

With Indonesia’s next presidential election looming on April 17, the candidates have little more than three months to convince voters. Almost every major poll from last year showed President Joko Widodo to have a double digit lead over Prabowo Subianto, who is challenging the incumbent for the second time after losing to Jokowi in 2014.

The first new poll results of 2019 were released by the Indikator Politik Survey Institute yesterday and, although they are based on surveys done late last year, they are another sign that Prabowo is starting off the new year at a severe electoral disadvantage, with very little time to make up the difference.

According to Indikator’s latest poll — which was conducted between December 6-16, and involved 1,220 respondents chosen from multistage random sampling throughout Indonesia — 54.9% of respondents said they were planning to vote for President Jokowi and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin, while 34.8% were planning to vote for Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno.

The remaining 9.2% of respondents said they were still undecided and 1.1% said they had chosen to not vote for either candidate.

Indikator’s executive director, Burhanuddin Muhtadi, said that, despite having a lead of more than 20 points, the numbers could still change dramatically in the coming months.

“There are still about three months of campaigning left. The 20% difference does not mean the Jokowi-Ma’ruf ticket is safe,” Burhanuddin said yesterday at a press conference announcing the survey results, as quoted by Kompas.

Indikator’s latest survey shows very little change in support from their last one in September, which showed Jokowi-Ma’ruf at 57.7% versus 32.3% for Prabowo-Sandiaga. The new results show undecideds breaking slightly towards the challenger, but not enough to be considered statistically significant.

Observers expected Prabowo to make some major adjustments to his campaign at the start of the new year to try and gain ground on Jokowi. But while it does seem like the Gerindra chief and his supporters are focused on making even more severe criticisms of Jokowi’s economic policies (which had already been their central platform of attack), so far it hasn’t exactly been working out for them very well, with both Prabowo and Sandiaga being widely derided for economic statements made last week that appear to be misleading at best or false at worst (they were even given sarcastic “Liar Awards” by upstart millennial party PSI for their lies at the start of the year).

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