May 5, 2023
JAKARTA – A fresh poll suggests that presidential nominee Prabowo Subianto, who lost to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in the last two elections, would beat prospective rivals Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, in what would likely be a fiercely contested two-round election.
Gerindra Party leader and Defense Minister Prabowo consistently remained a top pick among presidential hopefuls in several simulations in a survey released by the Indonesia Survey Institute (LSI) on Wednesday, outpacing Ganjar and Anies, who trailed behind him in second and third place, respectively.
The survey was conducted from April 12 to 17, days before Ganjar’s surprising nomination as presidential candidate by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), a party of which Jokowi is a member, and amid talks about the formation of a grand alliance of five major pro-government parties, with Prabowo as its presidential candidate.
In open-ended queries, Prabowo, whom President Jokowi has at times appeared to favor as his potential successor, came top of the list for 18.3 percent of the total 1,220 respondents of voting age, ahead of the other pro-government candidate Ganjar, at 16.2 percent, and opposition figure Anies, at 13.1 percent.
Jokowi, whose approval rating of 82 percent in April stands at an all-time high since he took office in 2014, was in fourth place with 6.8 percent of the vote in the same survey. This, according to the LSI, indicated that the public was well aware of Jokowi being constitutionally barred from running again.
The survey also found Prabowo’s electability stood the highest if the election were contested today, with 28.3 percent of the respondents saying they would vote for Prabowo out of 10 candidates in a close-ended questionnaire. His electability rating grew by 10 percentage points from 18.8 percent in February, while Ganjar’s slightly increased by 0.4 percentage points from 26.9 to 27.3 percent and Anies’ from 18.3 to 21 percent.
A four-horse race simulation in the survey also put Prabowo as the top pick, with 33.1 percent of respondents saying that they would vote for him, with Ganjar trailing closely behind him with 31.8 percent, Anies with 25.3 percent, and Puan Maharani, another potential PDI-P nominee at the time, with 2.2 percent.
With none of the frontrunners leading the polls by a large margin, the 2024 election is likely to be a tightly contested race with the probability of two presidential candidates advancing into a run-off election, LSI’s executive director Djayadi Hanan said on Wednesday.
“In the meantime, we are seeing a tight competition for nomination among prospective candidates. If this continues until the registration [for presidential candidates] opens in the coming six months [on Oct. 19 of this year], the chance of a two-round election is quite substantial,” he said.
The survey furthermore found Prabowo outpacing both Ganjar and Anies in the runoff simulations by large margins. The defense minister commanded 49.2 percent of the vote in a two-horse race simulation against Ganjar, who netted 39.7 percent of the vote, while the remaining 11.1 percent of respondents were undecided.
Meanwhile, 51.7 percent of respondents said that they would vote for Prabowo over Anies, who gained 35.8 percent of the vote in another runoff simulation, while 12.5 percent of respondents remained undecided.
Prabowo’s lead was consistent in other runoff simulations if he was paired with Golkar Party chair Airlangga Hartarto, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa of the National Awakening Party (PKB), PKB chair Muhaimin Iskandar, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil or Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, as his running mate.
“In the second-round simulations, both with and without running-mate scenarios, Prabowo tends to always come out on top, but the general level of support has not reached more than 50 percent,” said Djayadi.
“Prabowo’s lead in the runoffs is due to the fact that he is able to draw support from the voter bases of his rivals, Ganjar and Anies. He has been able to maintain his supporters from the 2019 election while at the same time drawing enough support from previous Jokowi voters.”