KOTA KINABALU, Sept 25 — A Sabah think-tank has found there is no clear winner apparent in the state’s tightly-fought electoral race that culminates tomorrow due to the shifting sands of support between Warisan and Opposition alliance Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).
Society Empowerment and Economic Development of Sabah (SEEDS) chairman Arnold Puyok said that although the race could still swing in favour of either coalition, Warisan has a slight edge due to the prospect of split votes in some 17 seats.
“Overall, there is still no clear winner in sight. The second survey shows that GRS comprising Perikatan Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is leading with Warisan Plus trailing behind. Compared to the first survey, the inclination of support to the local parties has increased to 15.9 per cent,” he said in a statement here.
Puyok said that while there were significant shifts in the Opposition camp from BN to PN, Warisan Plus and third-force contenders have not moved much in terms of the popular share of voter inclination.
“PN has benefited greatly from the state election campaign in terms of political visibility even in far-flung rural areas. Overall, BN has lost up to 10 per cent while PN has gained about the same amount.
“The implication of this is the decision of BN, PN and PBS to slug it out in 17 seats will heavily split the vote and give the advantage to their opponents,” he said.
Despite their stated intention to work together, GRS parties are clashing in 17 seats, although PBS has theoretically agreed to pull out of two in order to support PN’s Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) in seats where they have fielded their incumbents.
Puyok also said that local-based parties also gained almost 5 per cent share of voter inclination in marginal seats.
“In Warisan’s marginal seats, BN lost its voter inclination share substantially by more than 20 per cent, whereas PN gained more than 10 per cent. However, Warisan Plus has managed to capture the larger share of the voter inclination by 15 per cent,” he said.
Puyok said the top three issues likely to influence voters are infrastructural development, the performance of the state government and the performance of the federal government. The issues of party hopping and the Philippine claim to Sabah were found to be less salient.
On voting patterns, Puyok said 51 per cent of respondents said they would vote for a party rather than an individual. However, among the youth, the inverse was the case.
Sabah goes to the polls tomorrow.