BN, Pakatan in dead heat for Election 2013

(TMI) – Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are almost evenly tied to win Election 2013 with the economy the main issue ahead of the May 5 general elections, according to a survey by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research.

The respected pollster found that 42 per cent of the voters surveyed agreed that PR should be given a chance to govern the country against 41 per cent who felt only BN should govern Malaysia.

It added that four per cent of the voters refused to respond while 13 per cent of the voters said they “did not know”.

“Based on the survey results and the assumption that the election is free and fair, we estimate that neither Barisan Nasional nor Pakatan Rakyat were in the lead as at 9:30pm on May 2, 2013,” Merdeka Center said in a statement this evening.

The survey was carried out by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research between 9:00am on April 28 and 9.30pm on May 2, involving 1,600 registered voters comprising 59 per cent Malay, 32 per cent Chinese and nine per cent Indian respondents who were interviewed by telephone in the poll.

BN leaders have expressed confidence of doing better than Election 2008, saying their election machinery has been working hard to canvass votes in both rural and urban areas to ensure its unbroken rule since independence in 1957.

The BN also believes it can snare 142 seats, counting on what its officials say was a swing towards the coalition in the last 24 hours in its traditional vote bank of Sabah and Sarawak.

Leaders from both coalitions have been racing across the country in the past two weeks to speak at rallies, exhorting party workers to campaign harder and persuading fence sitters for their votes.

Based on the outcome of the survey and with a three per cent margin of error, the Merdeka Center said BN could pick up a total of 85 seats against 89 by PR with 46 seats still a toss-up between both coalitions.

Two other seats in Sabah and Sarawak would go to other parties, it added.

The Merdeka Center survey released today also found that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s approval ratings has slipped the few days from polling day to 61 per cent from 64 per cent in the last survey conducted  from March 12 to 17 this year.

“In our opinion this figure reflects the slide in the so-called “feel good” factor generated by the large scale distribution of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) and such cash handouts targeting various sectors of the electorate,” the pollster said.

It said that concerns over the economy at 25 per cent topped the list of issues voters wanted to hear discussed or debated during the election followed by matters pertaining to administration and leadership at nine per cent, social issues and public safety seven per cent, race-related issues seven per cent and corruption at six per cent.

Some 13.3 million Malaysians, including 5,200 abroad, are eligible to cast ballots for the 222 federal and 505 state seats, excluding Sarawak’s 71 state seats which were decided in 2011.