Another election, another survey

[Update: The survey is now closed]

This presidential election has no parallel. There are four candidates, with none of them an assured winner, in contrast to the general elections have always returned the People’s Action Party to power since the late 1960s. It’s exciting but it is also unexplored terrain for political analysis. We have no history of similar nationwide contests that we can plumb for guidance.

When the results are out, how are we to make sense of it?

Time for another survey [survey now closed].

The survey embedded below is a very straightforward one, with 12 simple questions that will barely require two minutes. Do the survey only after you’ve decided who to vote for, or after you’ve actually voted.

The survey begins by asking which candidate you have decided to vote for.

The 2nd and 3rd questions try to get a sense of how well the candidate (whom you have chosen) resonates with you, and how confident you are that you know how he will actually perform in office. I think these questions are important because it is possible, in my view, that the campaign has been too short.

Unlike political parties which generally have years of history — so we know roughly where they stand — these are individual candidates. Perhaps some of us had no clear idea who they were until the campaign started. Do we feel we know enough by the end of the campaign?

To complicate matters, this is only the second contested presidential election in Singapore’s history and the first in 18 years. It was only until perhaps a month ago that people even began to wonder what exactly the Singapore constitution requires of the president.

All the remaining questions are obvious and you will find yourself speeding through them.

The survey will stay open for two and a half days till midday Saturday. In keeping with the law, I will not publish the results until the winner of the election is announced, and even then, perhaps a few days later, because I need time to process the data.

Please help propagate the link to this article and to the survey form
(https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?hl=en_US&formkey=dHJ5UkRjSGlzMnpLTlYtZnZyYU5NbkE6MQ#gid=0)

With only two and a half days, we need to get a lot of responses quickly to obtain a meaningful result.

21 Responses to “Another election, another survey”


  1. 1 Anonymous 25 August 2011 at 01:31

    Shouldn’t there be a option for people who had not decided who to vote for yet?

  2. 3 most arguments are useless 25 August 2011 at 02:34

    12 simple questions that will barely require two minutes. …some of the questions taken together do not appear to be so simple…

  3. 4 jsiow 25 August 2011 at 06:50

    I gather you are not interested in those who might be thinking of deliberately spoiling their vote just to make a point? (imaginable although personally I don’t see the point …)

  4. 5 OldSingaporean 25 August 2011 at 08:34

    Looking forward to the survey results and your analysis of it.

  5. 6 Robox 25 August 2011 at 09:25

    1. “…I will not publish the results until the winner of the election is announced,…”

    My comment is not on the law enforced on you but the law itself, a law that doesn’t exist in democracies. I go back to the first principles for this law from the perspective of political theory.

    An election is held premised on the notion that the winner of the election has received the mandate of the people.

    But I paint a not uncommon scenario in which an election has, say, three candidates, A, B and C, and polls – legal in democracies – consistently show that A is the lead, B is only slightly behind B and C lags far behind all the other two candidates. In the event that Candidates B and C are actually not too dissimilar, supporters of Candidate C might – and they frequently do, in democracies – switch their votes to Candidate Bo FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE of preventing Candidate A’s election; it’s called strategic voting and is accepted as having the legitimacy of having the mandate of the people in the event that Candidate B is eventually elected.

    2. To the survey question: “If it had been a straight fight between Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bock, who would you be voting for?”

    Even though I picked Tan Cheng Bock, I wouldn’t have at the polls; I would have spoiled my vote. And I would have publicized my choice even before the polls explaining why I am making that choice: to deny both the PAP-connected candidates a popular mandate – less than 50% of the vote – because neither of them deserves my mandate, and the actual campaign as it has played out is proving me correct.

    Even before Tan Jee Say entered the contest, which had the only the other three hopefuls in the race, there were many comments by individuals online that they were planning to spoil their vote; that has disappeared almost completely now.

  6. 7 Leong 25 August 2011 at 09:45

    Why is there a law prohibiting any political survey results from being published before the final announcement of the winner and yet we have our Presidential hopeful TT announcing in the ST to the whole of Singapore that he has 75% support of the unions ?

    Is this again not another clear example of double standards in what our PAP Govt preach from what they actually practice ?

    • 8 harishpillay 25 August 2011 at 23:39

      The Parliamentary Elections Act (http://www.elections.gov.sg/agc/parliamentaryAct1.htm) section 78C and 78D explicitly bans it:

      “Blackout period for election survey results
      78C. —(1) No person shall publish or permit or cause to be published the results of any election survey during the period beginning with the day the writ of election is issued for an election and ending with the close of all polling stations on polling day at the election.
      [31/2001]
      (2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
      [31/2001; 10/2010]
      (2A) The offence under subsection (2) shall be an arrestable offence within the meaning of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010.
      [10/2010]
      (3) In this section, “election survey” means an opinion survey of how electors will vote at an election or of the preferences of electors respecting any candidate or group of candidates or any political party or issue with which an identifiable candidate or group of candidates is associated at an election.
      [31/2001]

      Exit polls ban on polling day
      78D. —(1) No person shall publish or permit or cause to be published on polling day before the close of all polling stations on polling day —
      (a) any statement relating to the way in which voters have voted at the election where that statement is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information given by voters after they have voted; or
      (b) any forecast as to the result of the election which is (or might reasonably be taken to be) based on information so given.
      [31/2001]
      (2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
      [31/2001; 10/2010]
      (2A) The offence under subsection (2) shall be an arrestable offence within the meaning of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 (Act 15 of 2010).
      [10/2010]
      (3) In this section —
      (a) “forecast” includes estimates; and
      (b) any reference to the result of an election is a reference to the result of an election either as a whole or so far as any particular candidate or group of candidates at the election are concerned.”

      Harish

  7. 9 Leong 25 August 2011 at 09:56

    Sorry another question if you can help to answer, considering that someone mentioned it is a cooling off day this coming Friday ie tomorrow, would it be a considered violation of this stupid law if someone was to blog or make any online comment about the Presidential election within the whole of tomorrow commencing from midnight today ?

    • 10 Anonymous 25 August 2011 at 13:26

      not allowed:

      * Publication and display of election advertising, including those on the Internet, not already displayed or published before the start of Cooling-off Day

      * Canvassing, visiting homes and workplaces of voters in connection with the election

      * Wearing, carrying and displaying political insignia or propaganda and

      * Holding of election meetings

      However, the following is allowed:

      * Party political broadcasts on TV

      * News relating to elections published in newspapers or broadcast on radio or TV

      * Approved posters and banners that were lawfully displayed before the start of Cooling-off Day

      * Other election advertising, including those on the Internet, that were displayed or published before Cooling-off Day

      * Distribution or promotion of the sale of any book if its publication was scheduled independent of the election and the book is not sold at less than its commercial value

      * Transmission of personal political views by any individual to another using the telephone, Internet or other electronic means and

      * Wearing of party badges or symbols by candidates.

      source from may 6/7 cooling off day rules

  8. 11 Shawn Byron Danker 25 August 2011 at 13:09

    Done Alex. nice meeting you at F2F. if u wanna see the shots let me know🙂

  9. 12 Joan of Arc 25 August 2011 at 13:32

    done! looking forward to the result!

  10. 13 x 25 August 2011 at 18:07

    Perhaps you can let us know in the interim, how many responses you have collected so far.

  11. 14 jsiow 25 August 2011 at 20:44

    If “wearing, carrying and displaying political insignia or propaganda” is disallowed on Cooling Off Day, lots of folks in Singapore will have to do without their glasses and either switch to contact lenses or resign themselves to bumping into each other all day …

  12. 15 Anne 25 August 2011 at 23:50

    Questions 4,7 & 8- you could have and should have allowed for null vote. Because like myself, when initially there were three Tans, I had then decided to cast a null vote. Reasons were: (1) Like the WP, I do not support having the EP. Waste of money, waste of resources, no real purpose, does not benefit the citizens lives. (2) All three Tans had/ still having connection to the PAP.

    Then when TJS say came on board, threw his hat into the ring, I said to myself “Ho seh liao, now I know who I am gonna vote for. Finally, someone who is totally non PAP, someone without the PAP stained blood is contesting the EP. Despite my view that EP should be aborted, since we all have to vote, I shall exercise my only Singaporean right to vote. That the man is TJS. I then explained to my mum and dad that TJS is the guy to vote for. My dad is a little for TKL, but I’m trying to win him over. The good news is, they both detest TT. We all hate the PAP and feel disgusted with them to the core.

    So Alex, you ought to provide an option for a null vote. Before TJS joined in, I was going to write on the voting slip: “Scrap the EP. Use the budget to benefit SIngaporeans please!”

  13. 16 Gwynnie 26 August 2011 at 00:06

    Hey Alex, I’m just wondering if you see any value in providing an option for those who eventually choose to spoil their vote?

  14. 17 Anonymous 26 August 2011 at 00:06

    Hi Alex,

    This is as interesting as the previous survey! Can I ask you to share your data the moment the survey is closed? Even in raw form (i.e. the raw GoogleDocs spreadsheet), so that more than one person can analyse it? Then more productive viewpoints can be obtained, and arguments can be independently verified.

    I for one can’t wait to get my hands on that data – if you allow it, of course!

  15. 18 Jasmine 26 August 2011 at 16:20

    done! can’t wait for the results

  16. 19 data 27 August 2011 at 02:26

    Done! This survey is as interesting and the one for the GE, and I want to ask if you can make the survey data available online the moment that the survey is closed. All it would take would be to post a link to the raw spreadsheet from GoogleDocs. It would be excellent, because it would allow multiple people to analyse the data, and it can lead to more insights, as well as independent verification of conclusions drawn.

    I for one am eagerly awaiting your analysis regardless!

  17. 20 Yamasam 27 August 2011 at 10:25

    Would you consider adding another dimension to your survey ? That is :

    Hypothetically, who would you vote for if the govt of the day is a non-PAP one ?

    The answers may provide additional insight into the thinking and consideration of the respondents.

    For myself, my vote will go to a different person should the govt of the day is a non-PAP one.

  18. 21 Francis 27 August 2011 at 20:01

    Why no questions on when people made up their minds? Would be interesting


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