Poll shows Najib’s ratings still high

10 May

By Leslie Lau
Executive Editor

Najib’s popularity outstrips the rest of Barisan Nasional. — file picKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s approval rating remains high among voters in peninsular Malaysia, dipping only slightly from 72 per cent in May to 69 per cent now, according to a survey by the independent Merdeka Center this month.

The poll showed that 74 per cent of Malays, 54 per cent of Chinese and 85 per cent of Indians were satisfied with the prime minister’s performance, in a major boost for Najib as he mulls an early general election next year.

According to the Merdeka Center, the slightly lower approval rating for Najib may be due to a reduction in government subsidies for fuel and sugar, suggesting Barisan Nasional (BN) is still vulnerable voter backlash due to price hikes.

The price of fuel and sugar went up on December 4 as part of the Najib administration’s ongoing drive to reduce subsidies.

The price of RON95 rose five sen to RM1.90 per litre, diesel by five sen per litre to RM1.80 and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by five sen to RM1.90 per kg. Sugar also went up by 20 sen, to RM2.10 per kg.

A fuel consumption tax has also been proposed by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) to cut next year’s RM7 billion subsidy bill and help reduce the budget deficit to 5.4 per cent.

Despite concerns about price hikes, a little over half of those polled by Merdeka Center still felt the country was headed in the right direction.

Fifty-four per cent of voters surveyed think the country was on the right track, compared to 52 per cent in May.

The optimism was fuelled by the perception that the economy continued to perform reasonably well, according to pollster.

In another indication of the public’s optimistic mood, 53 per cent of those polled said they felt economic conditions were favourable, an improvement from 47 per cent in May.

However, voter optimism in the economy for the year ahead fell six per cent from May, with just 47 per cent expecting the economy to be better in one year’s time.

Voter pessimism about an uncertain economic outlook is likely to be another factor in favour of early polls.

Despite repeated denials, Najib has already placed his BN on an election footing, with most component parties — including Umno — putting off party polls next year to concentrate on the expected snap polls.

BN has also told its media to play up “feel good”, “positive” reports and to find flaws of its political foes for the next few months, The Malaysian Insider reported last month.

Most of the country’s mainstream media groups are controlled by Umno, MCA and MIC and they have begun running buoyant reports about the ruling federal coalition, which one senior media executive said seemed to be “gaining some momentum’.

Key editorial executives have informed The Malaysian Insider that they expect the general election to be held within the first quarter of 2011 with Najib confident of regaining the customary two-thirds parliamentary majority after being denied by Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the informal three-party pact that won four more states and 82 federal seats, in Election 2008.

via http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/poll-shows-najibs-ratings-still-high/

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