On the afternoon of Polling Day, 7 May 2011, my online poll “How and when did you decide your vote choice?” came live. It stayed open for slightly more then 72 hours, in which time 2,052 responses came in.
I will be reporting the results over several blogposts because it is such a massive exercise analysing the data.
In Part 1, I will provide the overall data about participants who did the survey.
Not all 2,051 survey participants actually voted. 1,756 claimed they did, but 25 of them refused to name the party they voted for. Nonetheless, that left quite substantial numbers that voted for each party.
You should not treat the numbers as any kind of popularity contest among parties. First of all, as an online survey, it was obviously going to attract mostly pro-opposition types, so the proportion who said they voted for the People’s Action Party (PAP) would surely be far below the national average in the election itself.
Secondly, which opposition party one voted for was primarily a matter of circumstance. Except in one single-member constituency (Punggol East), all other contested constituencies had only one opposition party on the ballot.
The purpose of the survey was to gain some insight into the decision process by which voters made up their minds, not who they liked or ultimately voted for. Moreover, we’re talking not about the average voter, but of the younger, internet-savvy type. That said, this is a growing demographic and even if no claim is being made that this survey is representative, I hope to be able to offer some qualitative clues into what is happening in the minds of a significant part of the electorate.
This part of the electorate is more male than female.
Strikingly, two in three respondents who voted for the PAP were in their twenties, whereas those who voted opposition were more spread out over the 21 – 40 age group.
Question 11 in the survey asked how much attention they paid to political news outside of election periods. Of the 122 who voted for the PAP, about 32 percent said “almost daily”, and about 37 percent said they maintained a rough awareness, although they do not follow such news closely on a regular basis.
The graph for the 1,609 who voted for the opposition looks similar,again with about 32 percent saying “almost daily”, and 47 percent saying they kept a rough awareness.
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The next bar chart is stunning. It contains the answers to Questions 1 and 2 which asked which would be their first and second choices if they were free to vote for any party that participated in the 2011 general election.
Looking only at the 1,609 who eventually voted for the opposition party standing in their ward (which might be neither their first or second choice), we can see the Workers’ Party far ahead of the rest.
71 percent said the Workers’ Party would be their first choice; 24 percent said it would be the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). The other opposition parties had such low scores for first choice, I won’t even bother to show the numbers on the graph.
For 96 percent of these respondents, the Workers’ Party would be either their first or second choice. For 63 percent of these respondents, the SDP figured in their first or second choices.
The natural question to ask would be: How many of those who picked the Workers’ Party as their first choice, also picked the SDP as their second choice? Is the SDP too “radical” for those who liked the Workers’ Party or is the love transferable?
Pretty much so. 53 percent said the SDP was their second choice.
As for the age profile of those whose first choice was the Worker’s Party, this was a shade older than the age profile of those whose first choice was the SDP, but both were heavily weighted in favour of the 21 – 40 age bands, not surprising for an online survey.
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Analysis of the survey results comes in several parts.
Part 4: How important were selected sources of information in determining vote choice?
Part 5: What about Tanjong Pagar GRC?