“Pakatan Harapan has managed to rally the Malay support following Nomination Day,” says Ibrahim Suffian, founder of the polling firm Merdeka Center.
“This support is now at the expense of PAS and to some extent, Barisan Nasional as well,” he adds.
The hectic events that led to widespread dissatisfaction on Nomination Day which saw some high-profile candidates missing the election boat on April 28. After all the fuss died down, the ballot paper for GE14 contains lists plenty of Malay candidates across the spectrum of the Pakatan Harapan intended seats in Peninsular Malaysia.
Of the Non-Malay candidates, many were elected into office in previous elections winning their seats with a huge chunk of support coming from their Malay constituents.
Merdeka Center polls research shows that Malay voters supporting the opposition cause has increased to 27.8 percent, from 20 percent prior to nomination day.
The increase in Pakatan’s support was siphoned off from PAS which saw their support level dip to 20.9 percent from 27 percent previously.
“BN has seen a slight decrease in the Malay support base and is down by 1.8 percent,” Ibrahim says. “But this slight decrease is not expected to bring much impact or difference to the outcome of GE14.
Amidst the growing support from Malays for Pakatan Harapan, Ibrahim Suffian still believes that it is still an election for BN to lose.
“They (BN) will win. But the question is by how much?” Ibrahim asks. “They need 112 seats to win. Mathematically, they should be able to be the first to past the post, but will it be just that at 112? Or will it be much more, somewhere around 120 to 130 seats which is far more comfortable for them to govern,” he adds.
The Merdeka Center urvey was conducted among 1,200 respondents in Peninsular Malaysia. A second survey was done on 70 seats deemed ‘marginal’ and saw a respondent size of above 800 people.
“Following the new-found support amongst Malays, we can expect Pakatan to secure some interesting wins in about 100 seats from the roughly 165 seats they are contesting,” says Ibrahim.
As in previous elections, political parties rely on data to shape their campaigns. But since data abuse has led to the downfall of British-based Cambridge Analytica, the idea of political parties paying for and using such information to enhance their electoral chances will subject them to unwelcome scrutiny.
“It is 2018, and going forward, the political party that can draw the data best, and use it to their own advantage by shaping the hopes and fears of the people, will see them score big wins in future elections,” Ibrahim says. “But until then, we should be seeing BN to win the GE14 yet again this time around,” he concludes.
Watch the full interview with Ibrahim Suffian below.