Central Java Governor Ganjar overtakes Prabowo in latest eligibility poll

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo is expected to win a presidential race against six potential presidential candidates including Gerindra Party leader Prabowo Subianto and the Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.

The poll, conducted in mid-February by political polling firm INDICATOR Politik, found that the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician has gained popularity as the 2024 presidential election approaches.

Indicator surveyed approximately 1,200 respondents aged 17 and over across the country who were randomly selected. The results have an error rate of 2.9 percent.

Respondents were asked to choose a president from 33 candidates, 19 candidates, seven candidates and three candidates. When the poll returned 33 popular names touted for the presidential election and asked respondents who they would vote if the presidential election were held now, 21.9 percent opted for Prabowo, while Ganjar and Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan came in second and third, with 19.8 and 16.4 percent, respectively.

The three political figures nonetheless led the poll with 19 names, including PDI-P politician and Social Affairs Minister Tri “Risma” Rismaharini, former Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti and current Vice President Ma’ruf Amin.

However, when all names were filtered down to just seven candidates, including Prabowo, Ganjar, Anies, Democratic Party leader Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Erick Thohir, Speaker of the House of Representatives and PDI-P politician Puan Maharani as well Golkar party leader and coordinating economy minister Airlangga Hartarto, the poll found that Ganjar Prabowo is superior in eligibility.

Indicator Politik Indonesia executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi said a possible explanation for the rise in popularity of Ganjar at the expense of Prabowo is that respondents who preferred a candidate who was not in the list of seven names opted for Ganjar decided.

“If we take out the other names, [voters’ support] was mostly focused on Ganjar, although there were slight climbs for Erick and Puan as well,” he said.

“But essentially, all six candidates except Prabowo saw their eligibility increase,” he continued, adding that Prabowo’s eligibility dropped significantly with the support he received during the 2019 election.

Another factor in Prabowo’s declining popularity, according to Burhanuddin, is that the former general shied away from public attention when he was defense minister.

In comparison, the other candidates were either governors or had already started putting up campaign posters across the country. The poll also found that although only 65.3 percent of respondents were familiar with Ganjar – which ranked him as the least-known candidate alongside himself, Prabowo and Anies – 89.4 percent of those who did know him said that they would give their support to Ganjar in the presidential election.

In contrast, 98 percent of respondents know about Prabowo, but only 76 percent would vote for him in a presidential election.

“So Ganjar is more about its popularity than its eligibility,” Burhanuddin said.

The latest indicator poll was consistent with other public opinion polls in placing Ganjar at the top of their eligibility ratings.

For example, a poll conducted by Kompas’ R&D department and released in October last year placed Ganjar’s eligibility rating in first place, tied with Prabowo.

While Ganjar’s popularity is increasing, there is no guarantee that he would run in the elections as some of his political party’s elite members, particularly those who support Puan, oppose his presidential candidacy.

A rivalry between Puan and Ganjar is believed to be smoldering, sparking speculation of a deepening rift within the party ahead of the election.

The PDI-P elite, for example, chose to exclude Ganjar from an internal consolidation meeting in May 2021 in Semarang, Central Java, despite being in the province where Ganjar is governed by PDI-P matriarch Megawati Soekarnoputri, Puans Mother, is , has not yet named the party’s presidential nominee for the 2024 presidential race.

It is reported that Ganjar’s growing popularity has created a dilemma for the country’s largest party.

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