2econdsight

"to rescue truth from beauty and meaning from belief"

THE BY-ELECTION EFFECT vs THE CHEE SOON JUAN EFFECT

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GE2015 BUKIT BATOK SMC RESULTS:

Candidates Party Total Votes
DAVID ONG KIM HUAT
SADASIVAM V
SAMIR SALIM NEJI
PAP
SDP
18,234
(73.02%)
6,588
(26.38%)

150
(0.60%)

Here’s the good news for Opposition supporters.

In the 1981 Anson by-election, PAP’s vote share swung from 84.1% to 47.1%, a mind boggling 37%. The time between elections was just 10 months (23 Dec 80 vs 31 Oct 81). Opposition optimists can therefore point to a precedent that Chee Soon Juan stands a fair chance to ace the impending Bt Batok by-election. After all, Chee only needs a vote swing of 23.63%.

But that is based purely on numbers and numbers alone. But where it truly matters – the mood of the voters – the Anson of Oct 1981 and that of Bt Batok 2016 cannot be more different. Readers interested in the details should read this link.

 

Now, for the more sobering news.

In GE2015, Chee helmed the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and managed a 33.40% of votes. Was that a credible performance? Consider, SDP must have factored in the following, amongst other dynamics, when fielding the team they did.

  • Holland-Bukit Timah has more affluent middle to upper class voters than heartlanders.
  • Vivian Balakrishnan is by no means a heavy-weight GRC anchor minister. If anything, he is among those ministers who is seen as arrogant and, perhaps, incompetent. Remember his insulting and hurtful “How much do you want? Do you want three meals in a hawker centre, food court or restaurant?” and his hypocritical “Politics is a contest for power, but the key principle when you have power is, don’t take advantage of people under your charge, and always be honest and upfront with them.”
  • SDP had contested Holland-Bt Timah in GE2011 (39.92% votes) and had been diligently walking the ground in the run-up to GE2015.
  • Prof Paul Tambyah was, without doubt, a trump card and very popular with the public.

So, despite some important considerations clearly in its favour, SDP’s vote count dropped from 39.92% (2011) to 33.40% (2015). That said, it’s still better than the 9.8% swing nationally.

Putting the Bt Batok and Holland-Bt Timah 2015 results together, simplistically, the best that SDP can say would be that there is a hardcore Opposition/SDP base of 33.4% maximum. Even then, that is the most optimistic hope. If so, the absolute minimum, then, is how will Chee be able to coax the balance 16.61% to secure 50.01% to enter parliament? Will the 10 reasons actually play out according to script in Chee’s favour, or turn out to be more like 10 wishful  thinking of some Opposition dreamers?
On the other hand, the less optimistic view would be that the hardcore base is actually even lower than the 26.38% that SDP’s Savasivam secured.

Nobody knows.

 

 

Law Kim Hwee

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