JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has opened up a wide lead over his closest rival in a new opinion poll, despite controversy over his decision to pick the outgoing leader Joko Widodo’s son as his running mate.
An Oct. 27- Nov 1 survey of 1,220 people released on Sunday by Indikator Politik Indonesia showed 39.7% of respondents would vote for third-time presidential contender Prabowo while 30% would back the ruling party’s Ganjar Pranowo.
Indikator’s most recent polls have had the two neck-and-neck, with defence minister Prabowo at 36.1% and former Central Java governor Ganjar on 33.7% in its survey released on Oct. 26. Former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan remained a distant third.
About 205 million of Indonesia’s more than 270 million population are eligible to vote in elections on Feb. 14, which will decide who will succeed Jokowi, as the president is known, after a decade in power.
The latest surveys were conducted when headlines were dominated by the entry into the race of Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Jokowi’s 36-year-old son, after a Constitutional Court ruling days earlier that a minimum age requirement of 40 need not apply to all candidates.
Some political analysts see Gibran’s inclusion as a strategy to help Jokowi retain political influence and allow political heavyweight Prabowo to get elected by tapping the outgoing leader’s huge support base.
Jokowi was accused by critics of influencing the court led by his brother-in-law, who was last week found guilty by a judicial panel of ethics violations in failing to recuse himself from a ruling that favoured his nephew. Jokowi has declined to comment on accusations he interfered.
A survey published last week by pollster Charta Politika had Ganjar with a slim lead over Prabowo and some dissatisfaction about Jokowi’s role in the presidential race and alleged interference in the court ruling.
“Gibran’s inclusion is like a double-edged-sword. He could be an asset and liability,” said Indikator’s executive director, Burhanuddin Muhtadi.
The latest poll outcome reflected a sizable jump in younger voters and Jokowi loyalists deciding to back Prabowo, helped by Gibran joining the ticket, Burhanuddin said, adding the survey also showed respondents were not overly concerned about political dynasties.
(Reporting by Ananda Teresia and Bernadette Christina; Editing by Martin Petty)