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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where are the swing voters?


When the opinion poll showed that the BN and Pakatan Rakyat are well-matched in strength, I must again stress that if the poll is accurate, the final decision of the 9% middle voters can indeed affect the outcome of the election and play the role of the last straw. The question is, who can tell Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim where the middle voters are?
Lim Mun Fah, Sin Chew Daily
On the sixth day before the general election, the BN and Pakatan Rakyat have basically completed their respective deployments to consolidate their basic support. It is expected that the following strategy would focus on fighting for the support of middle voters.
Some people asked whether there are still middle voters at this stage.
Theoretically, middle voters exist until votes are cast. However, as the polling day is approaching, the number of middle voters will gradually decrease. The latest opinion poll of the Universiti Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCEDEL) has reflected such a phenomenon. Compared to March, the number of middle voters has fallen by 6% to 9%, with most of them Malays.
If the poll is credible, it has then conveyed an important message, namely the 9% middle voters is going to be the final kingmaker of the 13th general election.
When it comes to the key role of middle voters, the most commonly known would be the Median Voter Theorem. According to the theory, if there is only two candidates with well-matched basic support in an election, the campaign strategies of the candidates must focus on middle voters to gain more votes.
When it comes to implementation, however, there is no absolute standard to define "middle" line. Moreover, there are more than one election issue and thus, it is not easy to accurately strike the balance and meet the expectations of middle voters.
Moreover, even middle voters can be divided into different groups according to their racial identities, family backgrounds, education levels and political awareness.
As I know, middle voters are not necessarily fence-sitters with no political stand or party preference. Instead, they might be members of a political party without a strong party spirit and are not willing to be controlled by the party. Therefore, they insist to be independent voters.
Of course, there are also middle voters who have no political party preference. They are well-educated and reject blind obedience. They can think rationally before making prudent judgement. They refuse to blindly follow and thus, are more careful in making comparison in terms of political platform and election manifesto of various parties, while observing the words and deeds, as well as qualities of candidates, before making a decision and cast their votes.
In addition, there are also some so-called "middle voters" who are not interested in politics at all. They do not care about politics, and some are even indifferent to politics. Of course, they have no political knowledge, not to mention political ideal. Such kind of voters either choose not to vote or can easily be affected by their families and friends. They might even just follow the majority's preference to vote for the party with a higher winning odds.
When the opinion poll showed that the BN and Pakatan Rakyat are well-matched in strength, I must again stress that if the poll is accurate, the final decision of the 9% middle voters can indeed affect the outcome of the election and play the role of the last straw. The question is, who can tell Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim where the middle voters are?

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