The National Democrat Party is rising fast in popularity and threatens to eclipse more established parties, a new poll has found.
Dodi Ambardi, executive director of the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), said that the survey, conducted between Feb. 25 and March 5, questioned 2,418 people, of whom 5.9 percent said they would pick the party known as NasDem if elections were held now.
The National Awakening Party (PKB), the United Development Party (PPP) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) all Islam-oriented parties, only garnered 5.3, 5.3 and 4.2 percent of the votes, it added.
Golkar remained the most popular party with about 17.7 percent of those questioned ready to vote for it if elections were held now.
The opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) garnered 13.6 percent while the ruling Democratic Party drew only 13.4 percent.
“In 2010 the support for NasDem was only at 0.3 percent,” Dodi said, adding that in early February NasDem had nabbed a 1.6 percent share of support, a number that had jumped to 5.9 percent in early March.
Burhanuddin Muhtadi, an LSI researcher, said that if the increase in support for NasDem continued to rise this drastically, the party could easily defeat PDI-P and the Democrats in 2014.
He speculated that undecided voters might have broken for NasDem in a big way, explaining the escalating support.
“Early in February, undecided voters were at around 29 percent,” he said. “Early in March 2012, only 23 percent were left.”
It is also possible, he said, that NasDem had managed to attract supporters of the 29 political parties that were not represented in the 2009 elections. These voters accounted for about 18 percent of the people polled.
Pundits have said that NasDem, the only new party to have passed a government verification process for eligibility, could flex its muscle in the next elections with increased capital and media power.
NasDem recently welcomed media tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo as a member. Hary, who joined the party as chairman of its Council of Experts, rules over the MNC media empire, which includes television, radio, online and print media.
NasDem co-founder and former top Golkar Party leader Surya Paloh owns the Media Indonesia daily newspaper and Metro TV.
Ahmad Rofiq, the secretary general of the party, said NasDem aimed to have representatives in 79,000 villages across the country. Agus Triyono