People starting to lose faith in Jokowi, says survey

People starting to lose faith in Jokowi, says survey

A new public opinion survey has found that only three months after taking office, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is losing popularity, with his approval rating starting to drop.

The survey, conducted by the Social and Political Study Center (Puspol) Indonesia and released on Wednesday, showed that 51 per cent of respondents were losing faith in Jokowi's presidency.

The survey asked questions to 756 respondents in Jakarta, West Java and Banten with multistage random sampling from Jan. 6 to 16. It has a 3 per cent margin of error.

The survey put questions to respondents on six issues: Education policy, maritime policy, Jokowi's social protection cards, subsidized-fuel policy, currency policy and the general public's perception of Jokowi's performance.

When asked about the President's decision to cut the fuel subsidy, which has always been a sensitive issue in the country, 44.44 per cent of respondents said it was the incorrect decision, especially when the global fuel price was declining.

Meanwhile, 20.64 per cent of respondents said they did not have a problem with the policy if it could be implemented effectively.

Some 51.85 per cent of respondents did not believe that government money from the fuel subsidy cut would be used to drive development.

The respondents also reacted negatively to the education policy rolled out by Culture and Elementary and Secondary Education Minister Anies Baswedan.

More than 60 per cent of respondents disapproved of Anies' decision to drop the controversial 2013 national curriculum and order schools to revert to the 2006 version.

Twenty two per cent said the government had made the right decision.

"The 2013 curriculum was only implemented in July 2014. So it had been in effect for less than one year, but already it has been scrapped," Puspol Indonesia director Ubedilah Badrun said.

The only policy that elicited a positive response from respondents was Jokowi's maritime policy.

The survey found that 74.07 per cent of respondents applauded the move to sink foreign ships carrying out illegal fishing activities in the country's territorial waters.

"Some [respondents were] quite positive on Jokowi's decision to sink foreign ships. But when the policies concerned the operational side, then the public started to ask questions," Ubedilah said.

Overall, the survey found that 74.60 per cent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with Jokowi's governance in his first three months at the helm.

The survey also asked the respondents to score, on a scale of one to 10, Jokowi's communication skills and appearance.

The result saw Jokowi receive 5.76 for communication and 5.8 for appearance.

"While the public admire his blusukan [impromptu visits], they perceive his communication skills to be lacking. It's a far cry from former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who many saw as being an intelligent communicator. Therefore, I believe he needs a spokesman," said Ubedilah.

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