A pre-election survey among Malay voters in Selangor found there is no significant vote transferability between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN).
According to a study done in March by Marzuki Mohamad and Khairul Syakirin Zulkifli – published by the ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute – Malay voters are more likely to transfer their votes from BN to Perikatan Nasional (PN) candidates instead of PH candidates.
Some 1,200 people were interviewed in 39 Malay majority seats in Selangor for the survey.
Respondents in the survey were asked what party they voted for in GE15 and what party they would vote for in the coming state election.
Some 23% said they voted for BN in GE15, 22% for PH, 31% said for PN, and the rest refused to answer. This finding reflects Bridget Welsh’s GE15 analysis for political parties in Selangor – 23% for BN, 24% for PH, and 49% for PN, published on June 26.
Authors Marzuki and Khairul believe those who refused to answer were likely to be mostly PN voters.
Based on the above assumptions, the survey indicated that 39% of those who voted for BN in GE15, would vote for PN in the coming Selangor state election. If there were straight fights between PN and PH in their constituency, only 15% would vote for PH.
The study also indicated that if there was a straight fight between PN and BN, 29% of Malay voters in Selangor, who voted for PH in the last general election would vote for PN.
If there was a straight fight between PN and PH in Selangor, 87% of Malay voters said they would vote for PN, while only 8% of former PH voters said they would vote for PH, while 5% were unsure.
Twenty-four percent of respondents refusing to answer who they voted for could be read as being unsure who they would vote for in the coming Selangor election. If this is the case, then the coming elections could be wide open.
However, based upon Welsh’s analysis, it is likely that at least 60% of the unsure voters would vote for PN. This would mean that 67% of past BN voters are likely to vote for PN.
The paper concludes that if this trend continues to polling day, PN will gain more from the swing votes and those who shift across from BN and PH.
The survey also asked respondents whether they were satisfied with the unity government at federal level. Only 44% of Malay voters in Selangor were satisfied.
Party leader approval ratings were also canvassed.
Forty-three percent said they were satisfied with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and 60% were satisfied with former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Interestingly, through cross tabulation, 53% of Malay voters who voted for BN in GE15 were satisfied with Muhyiddin, 33% dissatisfied, and 15% refused to answer.
For Anwar, 24% said they were satisfied, 34% dissatisfied, and 42% refused to answer.
If both leaders actively campaign for the upcoming state election, there is opportunity for Muhyiddin to bolster PN, especially if the campaign becomes personality based.
However, only 17% were satisfied with deputy prime minister and president of Umno, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Potential lessons for political parties
The survey authors conclude that with the low vote transferability between PH and BN, it will be very difficult for the coalition to maintain power in Selangor.
There appears to still be a major credibility issue with Malay voters over the formation of the unity government. The Padang Serai parliamentary election just after the formation of the unity government appears to have corroborated this. A Merdeka Center poll of 5,050 respondents, between March and May found 60% disagreed with the coalition formed between BN and PH.
It appears Malay voters do not approve of Zahid, and cannot accept the DAP as a coalition partner. This could further deteriorate support for the unity government in the coming state elections.
For Umno loyalists who pledged “No Anwar, No DAP”, Zahid is seen as a betrayer of their wants. Further, the failure to obtain a pardon for former prime minister Najib Razak, who is serving 12 years in prison also puts Zahid in poor light for this group.
This data tells a much different story to what PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli said a few days ago. Rafizi’s prediction that PH will win big in Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan just does not hold up if the above presented data has any validity. In fact, this data, if relevant to Negeri Sembilan, could mean the election result in that state could be a cliffhanger.
It is very likely that any seat contested by BN for the unity coalition, could be a seat lost. PH strategists must now think very deeply, and possibly even run their election completely separately to that of BN. Certainly BN in coalition with PH should have as few seats as possible, if the unity government is going to hold on to Selangor.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.