Brand-name leader 'key to poll success'

Brand-name leader 'key to poll success'
The popular Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo during a campaign at a football field in Jakarta.

A brand-name leader and a big budget for television advertising - these are two critical elements for success in Indonesia's elections, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

For the April 9 general election, the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is leading the pack, helped by the biggest name in the field: Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo.

Mr Joko received the highest mark of 93 per cent when respondents were asked which presidential candidate they were familiar with, said Chart Politika, which sounded out some 1,200 people early this month.

The previous highest rating recorded by the pollster was 83 per cent, notched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when he was running in the 2004 election, said Mr Arya Fernandes, the political research and consultancy's manager, at a press conference to announce the results.

"The political parties are leaning towards becoming fan clubs. Symptoms of a 'democracy cult' seems to be playing a bigger role and the influence of leading figures are the key to the political parties," said Mr Fernandes.

In terms of the parties' popularity rankings, PDI-P was in the lead with 21.2 per cent support among respondents, followed by Golkar (16.4 per cent) led by tycoon Aburizal Bakrie and the Gerindra party (12 per cent) led by former special forces chief Prabowo Subianto.

When asked about the leaders, 88.9 per cent of respondents said they were familiar with Mr Aburizal and 83 per cent with Mr Prabowo. Asked who they would like as deputy president if Mr Jokowi becomes president, most respondents mentioned Mr Jusuf Kalla (20.3 per cent), who was deputy president between 2004 and 2009.

He was followed by Mr Basuki "Ahok" Purnama, the ethnic Chinese leader who is Jakarta's deputy governor (11.6 per cent), and State-owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan (9.5 per cent).

The survey also found that advertising on television is the most effective way to make parties visible to voters, with 90.9 per cent of those polled saying they received information related to the election from television.

In contrast, only 3.4 per cent obtained information from newspapers and 1.7 per cent from social media.

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