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The IPS Post-Election Survey

Mr Arun Mahazhnan, Deputy Director at the Institute of Policy Studies chairs the session.
Dr Gillian Koh presents the findings: What voters want.
The usual assertions are that the Singaporean voter is pragmatic, that bread and butter issue trumps all. That post-65ers are mostly liberal.
The burning questions:
<ul><li>What are the issues?</li>
<li>What do voters look for?</li>
<li>Who do they listen to?</li>
<li>Do they think the election system is fair?</li>
<li>Pre-65 and post-65ers, any difference?</li>
<li>Does class matter?</li></ul>
The survey took a sample of 985 adults. There was a problem finding 21-34 year olds with monthly incomes lower than $2000.
<h4>Findings: Issues</h4>
The cost of living, job situation and upgrading were not issues of primary concern. When asked to list what the issues were, the participants listed the need for eddicient government, fairness of government policy, need for checks and balances in Parliament, need for different views in Parliament and the personality of candidates as the most important issues.
There was universal appeal for an efficient government, whiel tthe need for fairness in government policy was listed most by the 30-39 year olds in middle income brackets, with no significant difference among ethnic groups.<h4>Candidates</h4>
The most important qualities looked for were honesty, efficiency, hardworking/committed, fairness and the ability to understand people.
<h4>Communication Channels</h4>
Newpapers and television came up tops and the next 3 channels were election rallies, door to door visits and visits by grassroot workers.
Newspapers and television were the primary channel for the 21-39 year olds, while the post-65ers liked the rallies, door ti door visits.
The post-65ers place more emphasis on party literature, word of mouth and the internet, especially so for the Chinese and Indian communities.
<h4>Credibility of Parties</h4>
PAP is the most credible party, followed by WP, SDA and SDP, with SDP falling quite far behind SDA.
The 40-54 year olds, 65 and above, working class strongly supported the PAP, the 21-54 year olds, service class and upper middle to high income band strongly agreed to the credibility of the WP. SDA appealed to the 21-29, lower middle class. SDP appealed also to the 21-29 year olds, lower to intermedia income class.
<h4>Views on the Electoral System</h4>
Does the election system or process need reform? How important then is the Nominated Member of Parliament Scheme?
There was slight agreement (3.5 where the neutral point is 3 on a scale of 5) that the whole election system is fair to all political parties.
Most Singaporeans agreed quite strongly that it was important to have elected opposition party members in Parliament.
<h4>Views on the Political System</h4>
Are people happy with the status quo or do they want reform?
Almost half of the post-65ers are in the swing voters category. They are not completely liberal, as some people suggest. A significant proportion of the 40-54 year olds are in the pluralist category, who are looking for some kind of change.
It was interesting the there was a larger percentage of pre-1965ers who looked for change than those born after Singapore's independence. It is a small difference, but still interesting to note.
<h4>Conclusion</h4>
Voters desire for good governance, efficiency where the ideals of accountability and fairness are integral and reiterated.
People want honest, efficient representatives but also be accessible, fair and have good people skills. The middle band of 40-54 year olds in the middle class are a category we need to pay attention to.
<h4>Points from the Questions and Answers</h4>
The internet has a very low mean score, but the 21-29 year olds ranked it as an important source of information.
The response and views of those who had the chance to vote and those who didn't were (based on Dr Gillian Koh's answer) largely similar.
Quite a number of questions had to do with the "fear factor" and whether the fear of being targeted was captured on the survey. It was revealed there was a 70% rejection rate. It was qualified that the typical rejection rate of a telephone interview was around 50 – 80%. Prof Tommy Koh probed further as to whether the 70% acceptance rate was similar to international benchmarks. The survey folks had no answer, but said that the 50-80% rejection rate was typical of consumer phone surveys.
One member of the audience mentioned that the 30% who answered the survey were probably inclined to be involved in the election process. But with compulsory voting in Singapore, many who have no political inclinations would vote for the incumbents.

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