Markus Junianto Sihaloho
With just two days to go before the presidential election, the results of a survey released on Sunday by the Strategic Center for Development and Policy Review show President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his running mate, Boediono, still safely in the lead.
The Puskaptis survey, which was conducted between Thursday and Saturday, shows Yudhoyono ahead with 51.95 percent of respondents saying they planned to vote for the incumbent president. He is followed by former President Megawati Sukarnoputri with 22.25 percent and incumbent Vice President Jusuf Kalla trailing in third place with 18.27 percent.
Puskaptis executive director Husin Yazid said the results were drawn from 2,500 respondents in all 33 provinces using a multistage random sampling method.
‚ÄúFrom the survey, 7.53 percent of all the people sampled were undecided,‚ÄĚ Husin said. ‚ÄúThe campaign teams of each candidate still have time to approach this group.‚ÄĚ
Although Yudhoyono still remained comfortably in the lead, Husin said the president‚Äôs popularity was definitely falling.
In Puskapatis‚Äô previous survey, from June 26 to June 30, Yudhoyono led with 53.95 percent, two percentage points higher than this latest result.
Husin said the drop might have been caused by either or both of two variables: the influence of the nationally televised presidential debates and any steps or statements made by the three campaign teams.
The Puskaptis survey found that 72.27 percent of respondents said they were not influenced by the presidential debates. However, when asked whether they had been influenced by statements from campaign teams, Husin said 63.38 of the respondents answered in the positive.
‚ÄúThat is why we would say that the decrease in Yudhoyono‚Äôs electability was caused by statements made by his campaign team rather than any other variable,‚ÄĚ Husin said.
He cited a statement made last Wednesday by presidential spokesman Andi Malarangeng. During a campaign rally for Boediono in Makassar, Andi reportedly said it was not yet time for the country to be led by a member of the Bugis ethnic group, which is predominant in South Sulawesi.
According to Husin, ‚ÄúSuch statements could make voters rethink voting for Yudhoyono.‚ÄĚ
Husin attributed a slight increase in the popularity of Kalla ‚ÄĒ from 18.15 percent in the previous survey ‚ÄĒ to the high level of contact between his campaign team and Muslim voters, especially through Nahdatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, the country‚Äôs two largest Muslim groups.
He said the rise in Megawati‚Äôs popularity, from 21.02 percent in the previous survey, could be attributed to her campaign calling for loyalty to the Sukarno name, in reference to her father, founding President Sukarno.