Survey report suggests a vote for BN might not transfer into vote for Pakatan, especially in Selangor

“This survey suggests that there is a greater de-alignment between voters and Umno which is primarily contributable to the BN Malay voters’ rejection of the PH-BN cooperation, clash of party ideologies and the existence of rival parties that shared identical ethno-religious roots.

(MMO) – Malay voters supporting Barisan Nasional (BN) may not necessarily vote for Pakatan Harapan (PH) even though both coalitions have now banded together to fight Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the coming six state elections, according to the report of a recent survey.

Instead, they would cast their ballot for PN in a protest vote against the sudden Umno-DAP alliance, the report written by Institut Masa Depan Malaysia (Institut Masa) — a think tank formed in 2019 by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin — said in the report titled “Why Perikatan May Win in Selangor”.

The report was based on a face-to-face interview with 1,200 voters from all ethnic groups aged 18 and above from March 1 until April 20 this year in Selangor, of which 850 were Malays.

“This survey suggests that there is a greater de-alignment between voters and Umno which is primarily contributable to the BN Malay voters’ rejection of the PH-BN cooperation, clash of party ideologies and the existence of rival parties that shared identical ethno-religious roots.

“Furthermore, with the PH-led unity government lacking in visible efforts and policies to address the rising cost of living and to ease inflationary pressures, there is no feel-good factor that incentivises voters to support the coalition in the election.

“With this trend in mind and based on the GE15 election data for all the state constituencies in Selangor, we believe that PN is comfortable in at least 15 Malay-majority seats.

“We also assume that PH is safe in all the 17 non-Malay majority seats,” its two authors Marzuki Mohamad and Khairul Syakirin Zulkifli said in the survey report published in the ISEAS Perspective, a journal by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

The Selangor state legislative assembly has 56 seats up for grabs, of which 39 are Malay-majority seats and 17 are non-Malay majority seats, and a simple majority needed to form the state government is 29 seats.

The survey had asked Malay voters in Selangor two questions: who they had voted for in GE15 last November; and who they will vote for in the 2023 state election.

According to the report, 23 per cent said they voted for BN, 22 per cent for PH, 31 per cent for PN and 24 per cent refused to answer.

“This finding reflects Bridget Welsh’s GE15 estimate of Malay support for political parties in Selangor, i.e. 23 per cent for BN, 24 per cent for PH and 49 per cent for PN.

“The only difference is that the Malay support for PN shown in our study is lower than Bridget’s estimate.

“Taking her estimate as a reference point, we believe that many of our respondents who refused to reveal their party of choice in GE15 could be PN voters,” the Institut Masa authors said in their report, referring to another political analyst.

The duo added that 39 per cent of Malay voters said they would vote for PN if it’s a straight fight between PH and PN; and only 15 per cent said they would vote for PH.

They cited the survey finding that 46 per cent of BN Malay voters have fallen into the “unsure voters” category, and claimed this showed BN’s shaky support base.

“Therefore, based on historical data and past trends, we estimate that at least 60 per cent of these ‘unsure’ voters are more likely to vote for PN, instead of PH.

“Furthermore, cross-tabulation of data on party choice, perception of party leaders, government approval rating and agreement or disagreement with the formation of the PH-BN coalition government shows that the majority of the unsure BN Malay voters are pro-PN.

“With 39 per cent of the BN Malay voters clearly indicating that they would vote for PN and approximately 60 per cent of those in the ‘unsure voters’ category potentially doing the same, we therefore roughly estimate that at least 67 per cent of BN Malay voters in Selangor will vote for PN in the upcoming state election,” the authors said.

Ratings for PH-BN at federal and state levels

The survey found that only 44 per cent of Malay voters in Selangor were satisfied with the performance of the federal government under Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Malay voter satisfaction with the Selangor government under Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari back in March and April were only slightly better at 48 per cent.

As for the prime minister’s performance, 43 per cent of Malay voters said they were unsatisfied with Anwar, compared to 60 per cent for Muhyiddin who is the current PN chairman.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is the BN chairman scored the lowest rating of the three coalition leaders at only 17 per cent.

The survey report cited Zahid’s ongoing corruption cases in court and the jailing of past Umno leaders for the low ratings.

It added that the voters were dissatisfied with the “unity government’s” inability to fix the ailing economy.

On the economy, 42 per cent were satisfied while 57 per cent said their personal incomes were worse in 2023 than in 2022.

Inflation and the cost of living topped the list of problems at 60 per cent, followed by corruption 7 per cent, infrastructure development 6 per cent, economic development and job opportunities 4 per cent each and political instability, racial rights, and welfare 3 per cent each.

The survey also asked Malay voters to rate the government on certain specific issues, and found only 20 per cent were satisfied with the current management.

Selangor, together with Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu will be holding simultaneous state elections on August 12 as announced by the Election Commission yesterday.

Nominations will be held on July 29, providing candidates with a two-week official campaign period.