I read the news that Merdeka Center claims that Anwar Ibrahim’s support among the Malay community is low.

Indeed, polling is an unexact science. I used to trust Merdeka Center – in fact I appointed them to survey Seri Setia and an early survey in Setiawangsa previously.

But this industry needs credibility and independence. The credibility of Merdeka Center was compromised during GE14 as they played a role to advocate the idea that BN can only be defeated through a PH-PAS collaboration. In fact, one of the reasons BN lost was the existence of three-cornered fights.

As late as January 2018, Merdeka Center was still insisting that BN would obtain a two-thirds majority due to three-cornered fights!

In March 2018, INVOKE predicted PH would obtain more seats in Peninsular Malaysia compared to BN.

INVOKE was widely ridiculed. But INVOKE’s prediction was the most accurate of all.

I recorded this in my book ‘9 May 2018: Notes from the Frontline’.

The full book is available here: https://www.gerakbudaya.com/9-may-2018-notes-from-the-frontline.

‘On 7 May 2018, INVOKE released its final survey, that boldly predicted a Pakatan Harapan victory. Pakatan Harapan would win 111 Parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia while Barisan Nasional would win 54 seats.

Pakatan Harapan was ahead in support among Malay voters in Penang, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, but Barisan Nasional had a slim lead in the other states. In the 2013 election, Barisan Nasional had enjoyed a 30-per cent differential over Pakatan Rakyat among Malay voters; this time no state recorded more than a 20-per cent lead for Barisan Nasional.

As Pakatan Harapan enjoyed strong support from the non-Malays, this would enable the coalition to do well in mixed-seats across the Peninsula.

The only glaring misses for INVOKE were Kelantan and Terengganu. It had predicted that the two states would be won by Barisan Nasional but instead were won by PAS.

Rafizi explained after the election:

“Even in the case of Kelantan and Terengganu, it was obvious that fence-sitters resorted to tactical voting in the last week of campaigning; throwing their support behind PAS (instead of Pakatan Harapan) because realistically speaking only PAS was strong enough (as the second party in Kelantan and Terengganu) to defeat Barisan Nasional in those states.

Likewise, the voters knew enough about which party was the strongest to defeat Barisan Nasional in a three-cornered fight elsewhere, that there was a widespread tactical voting (especially among the Malays) throughout the country.”

INVOKE’s optimistic surveys contrasted with other agencies. Barisan Nasional’s private polling was on the other end of the spectrum, having placed them within a few seats of regaining the two-thirds majority in Parliament that had been lost since 2008. This explains the disbelief and paralysis that characterised the response to their election defeat. University academicians prominent in the mainstream media predicted an easy win for Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional.

In January 2018, Merdeka Center announced that Barisan Nasional would win the general election and re-gain the two-thirds majority in Parliament due to three-cornered fights, the redelineation of boundaries and the fractious nature of the Opposition.

‘The opposition’s prospects range from slim to zero as PAS leaders appear keen to prevent a PH victory. PAS seems ready to assist UMNO on the grounds of preserving Malay political hegemony.’

The polling outfit maintained their prediction in April. In their final poll presented on the eve of the election, they recorded the decline in Malay support for Barisan Nasional but concluded it was insufficient for Pakatan Harapan to win Federal power as the lead among Malay voters was still substantial for the ruling coalition.

They forecasted 100 safe seats for Barisan Nasional, 83 for Pakatan Harapan, two for PAS and 37 seats where the margin of error was within three per cent. This included my Setiawangsa Parliamentary seat.’
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