Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 02 June 2006 2042 hrs
By Farah Abdul Rahim, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE: Close to 1,000 voters surveyed have said "good governance" is the key factor in shaping how they vote.
Bread-and-butter issues, as well as upgrading, had less sway over them.
The Institute of Policy Studies survey also found that the pre- and post-independence generation were not all that different when it comes to views on the elections system, including whether it was a fair one.
The results of the survey came as a surprise to many political watchers.
The average Singaporean voter was more concerned about having an efficient and fair Government with alternative views in Parliament.
Even the personality of candidates came before bread-and-butter issues like the cost of living and jobs.
Upgrading was dismissed as not too important by more than half of the respondents polled.
"The lower bands of the social class, those who are poorer did not rank jobs, cost of living highly either. The ranking increased as you went through the higher income, that is a bit intriguing as you think those in the lower income band would be more interested in pocket book issues but you will notice that they rank question of fairness of government policy higher. In the end, people don't really look to the Government for their pocket book issues to be settled at the vote or ballot boxes. What they do want is a Government that is fair, that will treat all citizens equitably," said Dr Gillian Koh, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies.
Nearly half of those surveyed felt it is important to have elected opposition members in Parliament.
This sentiment was marginally stronger among the pre-independence generation, especially those between 40 and 54, compared to the post-independence generation.
About a third of all surveyed want to see some change, in terms of political reform.
Nearly 1 in 3 above 40 prefer the status quo, and a fifth of the post independence group is similarly conservative.
While the rest have not made up their minds.
The majority felt the election system is fair to all political parties, with no need for change.
This includes those aged 65 and above, the working class, and those with primary education and below.
One in two surveyed were also of the view that the policy to link votes to upgrading was not fair - those under 40 were more inclined to feel that way.
"A big band of the post-65ers are in the swing category, for want of a better term. They haven't decided one way or the other, I suspect then that the other issues weigh more heavily when they cast their vote - the question is where will they land as they move further up the age bands. The post-65ers were not all out-and-out liberals, that the profile among the conservatives, pluralists, and the in-between swing categories was somewhat similar across the band from the post-65ers to the pre-65ers," added Dr Koh.
As for the quality of candidates, voters looked for honesty and people skills, rather than the candidate's credentials and even the party.
Voters continued to rely on television coverage and newspapers to help shape their voting decisions, followed by election rallies.
The Internet was least used for this, but the survey also showed that many in the post-independence generation also went online, while also depending on online sources of information.
On their assessment of political parties, the People's Action Party was deemed the most credible political party - it won strong support from those above 40 and the working class.
Those in the service industries, and a high proportion of those between 21 to 54 felt the Workers' Party was credible, while a bigger group among the 21-29 year-olds felt the same about the Singapore Democratic Alliance and the Singapore Democratic Party.
The Institute of Policy Studies said the results will help to better understand the Singaporean voter.
985 Singaporean citizens aged 21 and above made up of both voters and non-voters were polled almost equally to reflect the fact that 52 percent of the voting population actually exercised their vote in the May 6 General Election. - CNA /dt
Copyright © 2006 MCN International Pte Ltd
[ using terms like 'many' - is rather inaccurate and makes me wish I could get the actual data set. I know that before I even ask, the answer is NO]