Survey: Jokowi in strong position vs Prabowo but #2019gantipresiden movement gaining steam

President Joko Widodo (R) and former general Prabowo Subianto (L) speak to journalists after their meeting at Prabowo’s compound in Jakarta on October 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Bay ISMOYO

We’re just about a month from the official registration deadline for candidates competing in Indonesia’s 2019 presidential election but with neither President Joko Widodo nor his most likely challenger, Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto, having officially registered their candidacies or announced their running mates, the shape of that race is still very much up in the air. However, the results of a new poll from the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) reinforce the popular thinking that Jokowi will be tough to beat no matter who Prabowo picks — though there are warning signs for the incumbent.

The results of LSI’s latest survey, were released yesterday and feature responses gathered after the nationwide regional elections took place on June 27. LSI researchers said the results show that the number of respondents who said they would pick Jokowi in 2019 is 49.3%, up from 46% percent in May.

“There is an upward trend of electability for Jokowi as  the incumbent following the election, but as the incumbent is still below 50%, it is not that good,” said LSI researcher Adjie Alfaraby at a press conference discussing the survey results yesterday as quoted by Merdeka.

Adjie said LSI’s research showed that the post-election bump was not so much due to the election results (which were a mixed bag for the president) but a general increase in Jokowi’s job satisfaction rating.

As for Prabowo, the survey still found the former general in a generally weak position compared to Jokowi (who defeated the Gerindra chairman in 2014) although he fared much better with some potential running mates than others.

The strongest pairing was Prabowo with former TNI Commander Gatot Nurmantyo, a ticket picked by 35.6% of respondents. Prabowo paired with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan was chosen by 19.6% while a ticket of Prabowo alongside Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, Democratic Party politician and son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, received 12.3%.

Despite Gatot’s strong showing in this and other surveys, he has been rarely mentioned in recent talk of Prabowo’s potential VP pick (a lack of strong political party support being a possible factor). Governor Anies, technically an independent, is supposedly being “seriously” considered within Gerindra as an acceptable candidate by potential coalition partners PKS and PAN, but talk of a possible team-up of Gerindra and the Democractic Party, sealed by Agus becoming Prabowo’s running mate, is also being talked up by some party officials.

As for President Jokowi’s VP pick, the incumbent has said the choice has already been made and that he is simply waiting for the right time to announce it. Nonetheless, LSI’s survey showed the most popular running mate for Jokowi among respondents was Golkar Chairman Airlangga Hartanto with 35.7% while Finance Minister Sri Mulyani received 32.5%

No matter his pick, the LSI researchers said that Jokowi could not consider his position unassailable. One troubling sign from their survey is that the #2019GantiPresident (#2019ReplaceThePresident) opposition movement was growing, with 60.5% of respondents saying they were aware of it and 54.4% of those people saying they supported it (compared to 50.8% of respondents being aware of it and 49.8% supporting it in their May survey).

LSI’s survey was conducted from June 27 to July 5 and the results are based on 1,200 respondents chosen through a multistage random sampling with a margin of error of approximately 2.9 percent.

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