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KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) is expected to capture Kedah, Perak and Johor in the 14th general elections (GE14) and also wrest a bigger share of federal seats on the back of a Malay vote swing, according to data gathered by think tank, Invoke.
The same study also indicated that PH and Barisan Nasional (BN) could win the same amount of state seats in Negri Sembilan and Melaka, potentially resulting in two hung state legislative assemblies.
PAS, the biggest loser with almost no seats won according to the survey, is expected to lose Kelantan to BN.
Invoke director and Pandan PKR MP Rafizi Ramli said at the survey’s presentation here that the analysis of data sampled from more than 2,000 respondents showed a shift in sentiment among Malay BN supporters.
The Invoke survey found Malay support for BN fell drastically from December last year to last month, dropping by an average of 6 per cent.
“The last time the Malay votes dropped this low or at this rate was in ‘99,” Rafizi said.
In 1999, BN’s Malay vote was largely split as a result of a political upheaval within Umno, when its president and prime minister at the time, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, sacked and jailed his deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Invoke’s data found support for the ruling coalition stood at 28.5 per cent as of February, a drop of more than 11 per cent since December 2017, which stood at 41 per cent. Within the same period the number of undecided voters spiked sharply from 12 per cent in January 2018 to just above 17 per cent.
Rafizi said there was a correlation between the drop in BN’s Malay support and the increase in the number of undecided voters. While the sentiment shift may not necessarily mean these undecided voters would vote for PH, but it strongly suggested discontent towards the ruling coalition.
“They are persuadable or can be persuaded...it is this group of voters that the (PH) leadership need to work on,” he said.
This volatile group of undecided or uncertain Malay voters averaged at around 35 per cent of the total Malay votes, according to Invoke’s data.
Rafizi said his calculation showed PH need only to win over half of their votes to overcome BN, something he claimed was highly likely since “most” of them are either already sympathetic of the Opposition, or are staunchly unhappy with the current government.
One of Invoke’s own survey, which collects sample from a multitude of platforms that included monitoring conversations on social media and phone banking and canvassing, found that virtually all respondents said resentment over stagnating wages and cost of living pressure were the most important issues to them.
Most of them blamed the ruling coalition for the problem.
But BN is expected to increase its support in seats where the Malays make up more than 75 per cent of the electorate. These seats are located mostly in Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan, where the ruling coalition is expected to win with a near clean sweep, according to Invoke’s data.
The findings will likely come as a surprise to those who believe PAS would throw in the spanner for PH by triggering multi-cornered contests, splitting the Opposition votes and hand BN a bigger win.
But Invoke’s calculation indicated otherwise — it found that PAS was actually helping PH by splitting Umno’s support instead.
“Electorally, PH stand to benefit from three-cornered fights provided that Malay support for BN remain below 41 per cent..and the numbers show that,” he said.
PAS may not win a single parliamentary or state seat, according to Invoke’s calculations. On the other hand PH is expected to increase its federal seat tally for the peninsula to 89 while BN gets 76.
There are parliamentary 222 seats.
For Sabah and Sarawak, Rafizi said he estimated PH to win around the same number of seats from the previous election. Invoke did not do a profile for the two East Malaysian states due to the highly diverse environment, which would have made sampling more complex and tedious.
“But I expect PH to win around 122 (federal) seats...enough to have a simple majority,” he said.