Merdeka Center survey: Perikatan to make inroads in BN’s seats; but status quo for six state govts

Merdeka Center survey: Perikatan to make inroads in BN’s seats; but status quo for six state govts
Perikatan Nasional (PN) and PAS flags in the shape of a tunnel is pictured on the main road in conjunction with the Kedah 15th State Election campaign at Kampung Hujung Bandar in Sik,Kedah August 7, 2023. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa | 11-Aug-2023 | KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Perikatan Nasional (PN) is predicted to make further inroads in Malay seats in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu at Barisan Nasional’s main party Umno’s expense, and may also pick up a few seats in Negeri Sembilan, independent pollster Merdeka Center said today.

But Merdeka Center said its survey on voters in the six states undergoing elections now shows that PN will likely maintain the three states in its hands while the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) coalitions would likely keep the three states in their hands.

“Reflecting upon the survey results and incorporating our assumptions on allocation of undisclosed voters, we estimate the results for the state elections will be as follows: A status quo outcome in the six states. Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu will remain in the hands of PN while Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan will continue to be held by PH/BN,” it said in its findings today.

Citing its survey, Merdeka Center said PN will make further inroads in the Malay constituencies in Kedah and BN incumbent seats in Kelantan and Terengganu.

“PN may make small gains in a handful of seats in Negeri Sembilan, but will not threaten the position of the PH/BN state government,” it added.

As for Selangor and Penang, state seats where Malay voters form 70 per cent to 90 per cent of the electorate are “heavily contested and are currently considered ‘too-close-to-call’”, but both state governments will remain firmly with PH and BN, it said.

In the survey, Merdeka Center found that PN was the preferred choice for 66 per cent of Malay voters polled in Kedah, followed by Terengganu (57 per cent), Kelantan (50 per cent), Penang (49 per cent), Selangor (46 per cent), and Negeri Sembilan (32 per cent).

On the flip side, 40 per cent of Malay voters polled in Negeri Sembilan wanted PH and BN to form the state government, followed by 37 per cent (Selangor), 28 per cent (Penang), 26 per cent (Kelantan), 24 per cent (Terengganu), and 17 per cent (Kedah).

The rest of the Malay voters in the survey were either unsure or refused to disclose their preference.

When looked at the two states where Merdeka Center also interviewed Chinese and Indian voters, the survey found that 49 per cent of voters across all ethnicities in Selangor wanted PH and BN to be the government as opposed to 36 per cent who chose PN; while 59 per cent in Negeri Sembilan chose PH and BN and 18 per cent chose PN. The rest again were unsure or refused to tell their choice.

Based on these findings, Merdeka Center said Malay voters’ strong overt preference for PN in the Malay-dominant majority states of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu indicate that PN “will likely gain further ground” in Malay seats there at Umno’s and PH’s expense.

Even though the surveys show PN will likely maintain and marginally expand their share of the Malay vote across all six states, these gains by PH would be “inadequate” for the coalition to take over the three PH-held states of Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan, Merdeka Center said.

It also said the findings indicate that the broad voting patterns along ethnic and regional lines during the 15th general election (GE15) in November 2022 remains largely in place in the six state elections in August 2023.

As for the expected election outcomes, Merdeka Center said both the two main coalitions (PH/BN and PN) still need to swing voters who are still undecided to their side and persuade their core voters to turn up to vote, especially in parts of Penang and Selangor and the mixed ethnic areas of Kedah.

It said younger Malay voters in the survey continued to show strong preference for PN just like in the GE15 in November 2022, while non-Malay voters remain firmly in support of PH but questions abound on how many of them will come out to vote.

At the same time, PN enjoys significant majority support in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, which reduces the coalition’s reliance on out-of-state Malay voters to come back to vote for them, Merdeka Center said.

Merdeka Center carried out the survey from July 3 to August 11, ahead of voting day for the state elections tomorrow.

It interviewed 501 Malay voters in Kedah, 702 Malay voters in Penang, 501 Malay voters in Kelantan, and 504 Malay voters in Terengganu.

It also interviewed 1,005 voters in Negeri Sembilan (57 per cent Malay, 27 per cent Chinese, 16 per cent Indian), and 2,966 voters in Selangor (53 per cent Malay, 33 per cent Chinese, 15 per cent Indian).