ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Indonesia election

Prabowo nibbles into Jokowi's wide lead in Indonesia election race

Latest opinion surveys point to incumbent's high support among the less educated

Indonesian Presidential Joko Widodo shakes hands with opponent Prabowo Subianto after a televised debate in Jakarta on Saturday.   © Reuters

JAKARTA -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo still holds a commanding lead in polls released just two weeks before the world's third-biggest democracy goes to the polls, but his gap over rival Prabowo Subianto has slightly narrowed.

The April 17 presidential election is a rematch of 2014, when Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, beat the former army general.

The gap between two camps narrowed to 18.8% in March from 21.3% the previous month, according to a survey by IndoBarometer released Tuesday. The "electability" of Widodo and running mate Ma'ruf Amin, a senior Muslim cleric, stood at 50.8%. This compared with 32% for Subianto and his vice presidential candidate, Sandiaga Uno.

Hadi Suprapto Rusli, a researcher at IndoBarometer, said Tuesday the president's camp enjoys a healthy lead because there is a "high approval rate of Widodo's performance as the incumbent."

He also noted that Widodo's "three new card" program -- a promise of benefits to underprivileged people seeking jobs, university education, and more affordable food staples -- is proving popular. Other recent polls have shown that Widodo enjoys strong support from those on the lower rung of the social ladder, while the highly educated tend to support Subianto.

Widodo's camp is aware that Prabowo enjoyed a late surge in popularity in 2014 that led to a closer than expected outcome. That led Subianto to contest the result, with the matter eventually being taken to the constitutional court.

But Rusli said he expects such a surge to be "much less likely" this time because polling day is drawing close.

"The undecided voters are less likely to all vote for Prabowo," he said. "Jokowi's supporters are relatively stable, unless there are [widespread] abstentions."

However, Widodo's camp is taking no chances. The president made an unexpected visit to a trial run of the MRT, Indonesia's first mass rapid transit system, after a survey by Kompass, a respected Indonesian newspaper, released in late March showed the gap narrow to 11.8%. The MRT was Widodo's signature project when he was the Jakarta governor.

A separate survey published Tuesday by LSI Denny showed the approval rating of Widodo's camp at 56.8%-63.2%, while Subianto's team scored 36.8%-43.2%.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more