Saturday, May 26, 2012

A smaller win for WP: is PAP gaining ground?

Yaw Shin Leong from the Worker's Party (WP) won the Hougang seat during the Singapore General Elections in 2011, but was expelled following reports of personal indiscretions early this year. As a result, a by-election was recently completed, again won by the WP.

However, it is not only about winning or losing, but how the margins have changed for the WP. This year, the WP received 62% of the vote, down from 65% just a year earlier. The PAP candidate, Desmond Choo,   commenting on his 2.7 percentage-point increase in votes, felt that "the process of change has started".

Is this a sign that voter preferences have shifted in favour of the People's Action Party (PAP)?

The chart above shows that in total, the WP lost 1,400 votes this year as compared to 2011. However, very few - only 10%, to be exact - were lost to the PAP. This is shown by the blue area. Where did the other votes go?

To the fence. Almost 90% of WP's lost ground arose from voters not voting at all. Maybe voting twice in two years is just too much for them, or perhaps some voters have become disillusioned with both the WP and PAP. What do you think?

*Addendum: someone highlighted that voters might have been lost to a recent en-bloc exercise, reducing the total number of registered voters. These would contribute to the "non-voter" category. 

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