Sant Maral has released a poll ahead of the presidential election that gives a glimpse of some of the tendencies in public opinion.
As of June 19, no more polling is allowed, so one week ahead of the election, this will be the only indication of possible outcomes we’ll have.
As I have done previously, I would caution that methodological challenges in administering these kinds of surveys in Mongolia (for example, the absence of some kind of baseline general social survey that would allow for a comparison of the survey respondents with the general population) makes this kind of poll suggestive of some tendencies, but no more.
From what I can tell from the report published by Sant Maral, this poll was limited to Ulaanbaatar further casting doubt on its utility as anything akin to a prediction of the election result.
But, a week before the election, this is the best information we have and much credit goes to L Sumati for conducting these kinds of polls.
At least, a sample of nearly 1,500 respondents in Ulaanbaatar sounds promising, though the report offers no information on the sampling methodology.
The most important information comes right at the outset, i.e. respondents intention to vote for one of the three candidates.
Percentages come out as 54% for Elbegdorj, 37% Bat-Erdene and 9% Udval.
Given DP strength in Ulaanbaatar, we’d expect him to do well with city voters, so this result suggests a victory by Elebgdorj, but perhaps a very closely won victory where a run-off is still a distinct possibility.
How Firm is Voters’ Commitment?
The poll suggests that commitment to Elbegdorj is higher than to Bat-Erdene or Udval which might mean that we could still see some movements between those two, and possibly to Elbegdorj as well, in the final days of the campaign, though only 57% are “very confident” in the choice they made for the poll.
Run-Off, Participation, Issues and Voting Blocks
If we assumed something like 30% of voters to be living in Ulaanbaatar (it may be higher in population terms [check census], but many of those might not be registered in Ulaanbaatar and turnout will be greater in the countryside as well), Elbegdorj would have to do very well (close to 50%) in the countryside to win an outright majority of votes in the first round. To me, this poll doesn’t seem to settle my debate with Mendee regarding a run-off in previous posts (Me I, Mendee, Me II), other than to suggest that my original expectation for Udval to be garnering around 8% of the vote may hold roughly.
The 70% who stated that they would be voting on June 26 would be wonderful news in that this would be an increase over 2012, certainly in terms of participation in the city. If this holds true, it may also avoid the re-polling that will be necessary in polling stations where fewer than 50% of voters cast their ballots next week. Over ¾ of the respondents see the election as being fair or only facing minor problems. That is obviously good news in terms of voters’ confidence in the process and in democracy
If we look at issues that voters are focused on, it’s noticeable that the top two issues (standard of living and unemployment) are not particular subject to presidential powers or policy. The third issue, corruption, is one that Elbegdorj is certainly campaigning on.
As far as election platforms of the candidates go, over half of the respondents report no opinion on Udval’s platform suggesting that her communication or campaign has not been very effective on substance. The corresponding numbers for Bat-Erdene and Elebgdorj are around 1/3.
Surprisingly (to me) support for Udval is not heavily concentrated in older age groups, at least in Ulaanbaatar, while Bat-Erdene definitely receives more support among older voters.
As the first female candidate for president, Udval does seem to be drawing some women to vote for her, though primarily from Bat-Erdene who has a 5.4% differential between male and female voters, while Elbegdorj is supported more strongly by women than men, though only slightly. This suggests that Udval’s gender will have some impact, but may not really be producing the emergence of a women’s voting bloc of any kind.
Support for Elbegdorj increases with level of education while the reverse is true for Bat-Erdene. Voters who have received some higher education are clearly more supportive of Elbegdorj and the drop-off among Udval voters is high. Perhaps not surprisingly given her association with Enkhbayar and the MPRP, Udval’s support is strongest among the least economically well-off voters.