“While Singaporeans still want some diverse voices in Parliament, the electorate has voted more conservatively this time because some elements they thought were unsatisfactory and caused them to vote for the Opposition (in 2011) have now been addressed,”
Campaigns had little impact on votes in GE2015: Survey
NOVEMBER 4, 2015
SINGAPORE — Electoral campaigns had little impact on the votes cast in the September polls, said National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser, who found in his survey of 3,000 voters that perceptions of government performance, governance, and the electoral system did not shift significantly before, during, and after the campaign.
Dr Tan’s survey was conducted over three waves, including the two weeks before nomination day, the nine-day campaign period, and one week from Polling Day.
“I noticed there were no major shifts across the waves, although a slight decline (in satisfaction) was observed in later waves. I take it that there isn’t much change, people have already made up their minds (before the campaign) as to who they want to vote for. So the people who are generally satisfied vote for PAP, less so, vote for the non-PAP parties,” said Dr Tan, who shared his results at a conference organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) today (Nov 4).
Only 557 respondents were willing to answer questions pertaining to their actual vote. For them, confidence in and reputation of the party were the top two vote pullers. This shows that Singaporeans have cast their votes with a future-oriented and long-term mindset, Dr Tan said.
The need for an opposition presence in Parliament was the third most important vote-determining factor, but it influenced non-PAP voters to a larger extent than PAP voters.
Dr Tan’s study also found that the top five issues that influenced votes most include cost of living, housing affordability, healthcare affordability, meeting retirement needs and government transparency and accountability. In particular, the lower-middle and lower classes, as well as voters aged between 30 to 39, are most affected by these issues. Cost of living and housing affordability are also among the areas voters are currently least satisfied with.
“My inference here is that the hot-button issues from GE2011 still matter,” said Dr Tan.
Least influential issues include rising birth rate, crisis management, relations between races, childcare, and civil rights and liberties.
In a separate study led by IPS Senior Research Fellow Dr Gillian Koh, the top five issues of concern were the need for an efficient Government, amount of Government help for the needy, fairness of policies, cost of living, and need for checks and balances in Parliament. According to her study, one-off events such as the former Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council debacle and founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy following his demise tended to rank lower in importance.
Voters in 20s, above 65 turned back to PAP in GE2015: Survey
NOVEMBER 4, 2015
SINGAPORE — Singaporeans aged 21 to 29, and those above 65 are among the voter groups who have shifted back to supporting the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the Sept 11 polls, after voting against the political status quo in 2011.
Presenting these survey findings at the Institute of Policy Studies Post-Election Conference this morning, Senior Research Fellow Dr Gillian Koh noted that there was a dip in “pluralists” — those who support greater political pluralism and changes in the electoral system, relative to other respondents — among the youngest group of voters, and a spike in “conservatives” — who support the political status quo — within the oldest group.
“While Singaporeans still want some diverse voices in Parliament, the electorate has voted more conservatively this time because some elements they thought were unsatisfactory and caused them to vote for the Opposition (in 2011) have now been addressed,” said Dr Koh, who led a survey of 2,015 voting age Singapore citizens for two weeks after the polls.
While the survey did not draw clear causes for the voting patterns, policy changes founded on “the ideal of Singapore as a continuous meritocracy” — such as SkillsFuture, the Fair Consideration Framework and dialing down of foreigner inflow — may have contributed to the shift among the voters in their 20s, Dr Koh said at a pre-conference briefing yesterday (Nov 3).
As for those aged 65 and above, schemes such as MediShield Life, Special Employment Credit, and Central Provident Fund reforms may be among the “big bang” measures that led to the shift, she said.
Across all age groups, the survey also found that four-room flat dwellers, Singaporeans in the working and intermediate classes, and those with post-secondary and above education, also accounted significantly for the national swing,
Party-specific analyses showed that voters who agreed that PAP is a credible party tended to be among pre-independence respondents aged 55 and above, females, those with PSLE education and below, and naturalised citizens.
Those who saw the Workers’ Party and Singapore Democratic Party as credible parties tended to be post-independence respondents aged 39 and below, males, have diploma and university education, and work in the service class. Voters in the low-income group, and those living in smaller HDB flats, were least likely to agree that these two parties were credible.
[So despite the SDP's pro-poor policies or stance, they aren't winning votes with these voters. And despite the WP allowing S&CC arrears to accumulate, they aren't popular with the low income?]
The other opposition parties tended to score higher among post-independence respondents aged between 21 to 29, and the low-to-middle income group.
There was also an overall decrease in proportion of respondents who took a neutral stand, as compared to the last two General Elections in 2006 and 2011, suggesting that people have come to greater clarity on their positions, said Dr Koh.
[See also Quad's pre-election survey which found that the campaign period had no effect.]
GE2015: 7 takeaways from IPS post-election conference that explain PAP's performance