Ganjar’s electability rebounds after U-20 slump

The Central Java governor was toeing his party’s line when he publicly voiced his opposition to the Israeli involvement in the sporting event.

Dio Suhenda and Yerica Lai

Dio Suhenda and Yerica Lai

The Jakarta Post


May 3, 2023

JAKARTA – Presidential hopeful Ganjar Pranowo’s electability has steadily rebounded after suffering a downturn earlier in April due to his refusal to allow the Israeli soccer team to play in Indonesia, which cost the country the hosting of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

The Central Java governor, who was recently granted the presidential nomination by his Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), was toeing his party’s line when he publicly voiced his opposition to the Israeli involvement in the sporting event. While other PDI-P officials made similar statements, Ganjar took the hardest hit, with soccer fans pinning the blame on him for costing the rare chance for Indonesia to compete in a global soccer competition, and quickly storming his official social media account.

At least two recent election surveys indicated that Ganjar had regained the momentum for his presidential bid even before his nomination last month.

A survey by pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia, which interviewed some 1,220 respondents between April 11 and 17, just days before Ganjar’s presidential nomination but well after his U-20 fiasco, found that Ganjar was back in the game. In a three-horse race scenario, his electability now stands at 34 percent, followed by Gerindra Party leader Prabowo Subianto with 31.7 percent and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan with 25.2 percent.

This is a 6-percentage point increase for Ganjar compared with a similar survey taken from April 8-13, which saw Prabowo landing in the top spot for the first time in months.

A survey from pollster Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), released on Saturday found that Ganjar’s electability among what it calls critical voters has increased by 7 percent after being handed the presidential nomination by his party.

“Critical voters are those who have better access to social and political information by virtue of owning phones with internet access… They are generally more educated and tend to live in urban areas,” SMRC research director Deni Irvani said on Monday.

The survey found that 20.8 percent of its respondents said they would pick Ganjar when asked an open-ended question of who they would vote for should the presidential election be held now. Prabowo trailed in second with 15.8 percent of votes, while former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, who is backed by the NasDem Party-led alliance, is last with 11.4 percent of votes.

By SMRC’s estimates, Deni went on to say, critical voters amount to around 80 percent of all national voters. The nationwide telephone survey involved some 1,000 voting-age respondents between April 25 and 28 – just days after Ganjar’s nomination.

“After Ganjar was nominated by the PDI-P, it clearly had a positive impact on his [electability], since it eliminated all uncertainties regarding his presidential bid,” Deni said, adding that Ganjar’s electability increase also coincided with a decrease in the number of undecided respondents.

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Noory Okthariza said Ganjar’s recent popularity increase was expected, but might be short-lived.

“When NasDem announced Anies as its presidential candidate, he also saw an uptick in his electability, which has since gone down. I think Ganjar is also experiencing similar momentum thanks to the increased media coverage he has been getting,” Noory said on Monday.

To this end, the SMRC survey also found that Ganjar and Prabowo were still on virtually equal footing when respondents could only pick between the two politicians, along with Anies and Golkar Party chairman Airlangga Hartarto.

In the closed four-horse race simulation, Ganjar scored an electability of 30.4 percent, while Prabowo scored an electability of 29.5 percent. Ganjar’s 0.9 percentage point lead was still within the survey’s 3.1 percent margin of error.

With Ganjar now at the helm of PDI-P’s presidential ticket, CSIS’ Noory said a reshuffle in the current coalition-building outlook was bound to happen.

“With the PDI-P now seeking to forge electoral alliances, the existing arrangements of the KIB, the Greater Indonesia Awakening Coalition [consisting of Gerindra and the PKB] and the opposition coalition will all be shuffled around,” Noory said, referring to the United Indonesia Coalition (KIB) initially made up of the Golkar Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the United Development Party (PPP).

To this end, the PPP became the first pro-government parliament party to switch allegiances, as it announced a formal coalition with the PDI-P following a meeting between the two parties’ higher-ups on Sunday.

Golkar party head Airlangga Hartarto, meanwhile, visited on Saturday former president and founder of the opposition Democratic Party, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), in his private residence in Cikeas, Bogor, West Java.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Airlangga said the two parties were still able to see eye-to-eye on some issues and would keep an open dialogue, despite already forming their respective electoral alliances. (ahw)


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