The Sant Maral Foundation released its PolitBarometer April survey of voters. Going by their strategy ahead of the parliamentary election in 2012, this will be the penultimate survey of public opinion.
While polling is underdeveloped in Mongolia and hampered by the absence of some kind of general social survey, the Sant Maral Foundation under L. Sumati certainly strives to do the best it can in the circumstances. Given the challenges in sampling and the PolitBarometer’s reliance on regional sampling, the results are best taken to be indicative rather than a reflection of voters’ intentions nation-wide.
Nearly 85% of voters in the sample expressed their intention of voting. That would be far higher than in the last presidential election of 2009 with a turn-out of 73.5% and also massively higher than the turn-out in last year’s parliamentary election (65%). I don’t see any particular factor that would spur such an increase in voter participation, welcome as it would be, so I would chalk this up to social expectations and an understanding of the legitimacy of expressing an intention to vote.
With no official candidate nominations yet, the choices for presidential candidates are really not very telling other than to suggest that Ts Elbegdorj as the incumbent does have the backing of his party supporters (79%). Since a divided then-MPRP is one of the aspects of the last presidential election that probably sunk the candidacy of then-incumbent N Enkhbayar, this party backing is surely significant for Elbegdorj’s campaign.
Equally important may be the lack of a clear MPP candidate to run against Elbegdorj. In the run-up to the MPP nomination some of the candidates mentioned most frequently have been O Enkhtuvshin, current General Secretary of the party, former Prime Minister and major of Ulaanbaatar M Enkhbold, former wrestler and current MP B Bat-Erdene, and MP N Oyunkhorol. Only two of them, Bat-Erdene and Enkhtuvshin recieved 14% and 12% from MPP supporters respectively.
Also notable is the prominence of union leader S Ganbaatar. He also does well on the “who, in your opinion, should play an important role in politics” question with support in Ulaanbaatar as well as the countryside.
Among MPRP candidates that are being mentioned, D Terbishdagva does reasonably well among his own supporters (14%), while Ch. Ulaan is only mentioned by 5%.
In a number of questions, former presidents Enkhbayar (currently serving his corruption jail sentence) and N Bagabandi are mentioned.
Until formal nominations of candidates will allow a real choice in polling, the current PolitBarometer is merely suggestive of the relative strength of incumbent Elbegdorj. Hopefully, Sant Maral will run another survey before the cut-off of June 19.