Pongsapat ahead: polls
"Bored with conflicts", "wanting change for Bangkok" and "interesting policies" are major reasons Bangkok voters want to give Pheu Thai Party candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen a chance to become the next Bangkok governor, according to Abac poll results released yesterday.
Pongsapat has left behind Democrat Party candidate MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, who has declined in popularity in recent polls. Pongsapat's popularity has risen steadily from 32 per cent on the candidate registration day to 43 per cent, but Sukhumbhand has suffered a waning job approval rating from 37 per cent on the candidate registration day to 33 per cent now, thus widening the gap between the two.
The poll was conducted on 1,673 respondents from Thursday to Saturday.
Of 1,250 respondents surveyed by Dusit poll, 61 per cent said they would change their minds if other candidates had better policies than the one they had earlier wanted. Some 17 per cent said they would change if other candidates enjoyed more public sentiment.
Meanwhile Green Politics group coordinator Suriyasai Katasila downplayed poll results, saying pollsters have shown results many times that did not reflect reality.
He voiced concern that Bangkok voters were being misled by opinion polls that focused only on individual candidates and not their policies, and on candidates who have not detailed their policies or met their target groups.
Suriyasai pointed out that four major pollsters; Abac poll, Dusit Poll, Sriprathum poll and Nida poll showed wrong exit results during the July 3, 2011 general election. The poll results showed that Pheu Thai would win more than 20 seats, but the party actually won 10 seats.
When ML Nattakorn Devakula joined the gubernatorial race in 2009, many pollsters said he had polled well - but Sukhumbhand won the election.
He suggested that Thai pollsters improve their academic merit by going deeper into topics that are useful and not just focusing on popularity, which is easy, and poll results carrying high error margins.
He said if pollsters asked questions in depth, focusing on policies and different target groups, the surveys would be more useful to the election.
"For instance the policy to crack down on street hawkers: the middle and upper classes may like it but not the lower income earners. Pollsters should survey the under-privileged groups on what they wanted from candidates," he said.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she and Pheu Thai Party continued to work hard to help their candidate campaign for votes, not because they did not believe the polls which showed Pongsapat has a clear lead. She said the party wanted to make sure its policies reached the target voters.
"We thank pollsters because they are actually a boost for us to keep working harder. But it is all up to judgement day when voters go to the poll," she said.
Sukhumbhand reacted with a long face when he was asked about the poll results not being in his favour as the gap between him and Pongsapat got bigger. But he said: "I am not perturbed. Wait till March 3."