KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — More Malaysians are unsure today as to who they wish to vote for if a general election is called soon, according to a survey by research outfit Invoke Malaysia.
A little over half or 51 per cent of Malaysians polled in February 2021 said they were unsure as to who to vote for in the next general election, 16 per cent said they’d vote for Perikatan Nasional (PN), eight per cent for Barisan Nasional (BN), four per cent for Muafakat Nasional (MN) and just three per cent of voters said they’d vote for Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Seventeen per cent refused to provide an answer.
This is in contrast to only 37 per cent voters polled in December 2020 who stated they were unsure.
“The 14 per cent spike in the number of fence sitters between December 2020 and February 2021 means that more than half of all voters are now unsure about who to support.
“This surge in undecideds should come as a concern to PN, what with the historical tendency of fence-sitting voters to vote based on economic sentiment.
“Nevertheless, the ruling coalition can take solace in the fact that none of its competitors have made inroads with the electorate either,” said the survey.
BN polled slightly better in December 2020 where 16 per cent of respondents stated they would vote for the coalition, followed by PN at 15 per cent, PH at five per cent and MN at four per cent.
However, the survey notes that this does mean that Malay support has shifted from BN over to PN but rather points to Umno’s inability to take a clear position of its future.
“At the same time, the squabble for control of Umno by different party factions means that like PH, the party and BN have failed to rally support around a single alternative figure to Muhyiddin,” said the survey, referring to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“Put simply, voters well and truly face a ‘lesser of three evils’ situation.
“Should any party succeed at conveying a persuasive message centred on economic prosperity, they will be well positioned to benefit from the swathe of fence sitters who are now unsure of their loyalties,” said the survey.
The survey also found that 61 per cent of voters agree that PN’s service delivery is getting better in February, 2021 compared to 65 per cent in December of 2020.
Based on the same assessment, 69 per cent of Malays also agree that the government is performing better under PN as of February, 2021 compared to a slightly higher rating of 75 per cent in December 2020.
However, approval among the Chinese community between December 2020 and February, 2021 is largely stagnant, with 38 per cent approval rating in the former compared to 39 per cent in the latter month.
However, nearly half or 47 per cent of the Indian voters polled in February, 2021 approve of the government’s performance compared to 55 per cent in December 2020.
The survey also found that only 65 per cent of respondents polled in February 2021 are willing to go to the ballot box, a sharp drop from December 2020 where 78 per cent stated in the affirmative as well.
At the conclusion of the survey, Invoke summarised that all parties are suffering from a credibility gap.
“Despite PN’s extremely weak position, neither PH nor BN have been able to capitalise so far on what should be an open goal.
“PH has a massive credibility problem. In every survey conducted by Invoke after the ‘Sheraton Move’, a majority of voters claim that they prefer PN over PH.
“In fact, the number of voters claiming they prefer PN over PH has only increased as time passes, despite the fact that overall approval for PN and Muhyiddin has been steadily dropping during the same period.
“This is to say that PH has done nothing to endear itself to the masses since losing power in February 2020. Its emphasis on having the ‘people’s mandate’ stolen has clearly not resonated, even within the multi-ethnic urban constituencies that it would ordinarily consider its stronghold.
“Economic issues are what won it the election in 2018, a fact that appears to have flown by most of its coalition leaders,” said the survey.