So much has been said about the impending Punggol East Single Member Constituency (SMC) by-election. While most concede that PAP is likely to win in a multi-cornered fight, opinions are split on whether the decision of opposition parties other than the Workers’ Party (WP) to run in the election is justified (see for instance this and this).
In contrast to the multitudinous write-ups focusing on the opposition parties, few analyses center on the electorate of the Punggol East SMC. The first to do so is our dear Straits Times, which, in its eagerness to ass-kiss the PAP, has landed itself in hot soup by publishing a report with the headline “ST poll: More rooting for PAP” and breaching the Parliamentary Elections Act (see 78C).
ST editor Warren Fernandez then tried to wriggle his way out of the mess by claiming that the ST poll is neither “full-scale” nor “scientific.” Good try Warren. But hey, the methodology of the poll is beside the question. As long as the survey asks about voter preference as the ST poll clearly did, it is an “election survey” as defined in the Elections Act. Calling it a “straw poll” will not absolve ST of its blame.
After the ST blunder, The Online Citizen, Yahoo News and Today each spoke with Punggol East residents about the issues that concern them. Today reports, “Almost half of the Punggol East residents who were interviewed (48) said that municipal issues will be key in the by-election…In comparison, one in five felt that national issues – such as cost of living and the argument for alternative voices in Parliament – were more important, while one in four said it will be a mix of both.”
The overwhelming impression is that local or municipal issues top the list of the residents’ concerns. But is it really so? In the absence of a randomly-sampled election survey, what do we know about the Punggol East voter and his/her preferences? Continue reading…