First Nation Poll survey finds Pheu Thai ahead, but still short of a landslide victory
The first nationwide opinion survey by Nation Poll shows the Pheu Thai Party as the most popular overall, although the party is still short of its goal to achieve a landslide victory in the 2023 general election due to the high number of undecided voters.
The survey was carried out among 39,687 respondents in eight regional zones and in Bangkok’s 33 constituencies from April 7 to 12.
The results of the survey [see accompanying charts] led to 18 key points of analysis:
1) In the overall nationwide survey, Pheu Thai leads the fray as the most popular party in both constituency and party-list elections, followed by the Move Forward Party.
The survey was carried out from April 7 to 12 shortly after Pheu Thai announced on April 5 its promise to hand out 10,000-baht digital wallets to 50 million Thais aged 16 years and older. The digital wallet policy was the talk of the town for over a week.
The respondents said they would choose their favourite party mostly based on its policies (the most cited reason). The digital wallet policy is believed to have boosted Pheu Thai’s popularity, especially in Bangkok.
2) Pheu Thai’s second prime minister candidate Srettha Thavisin is among the top four choices for PM after he officially announced his candidacy on April 5 and was also the one who announced the party’s digital wallet policy.
3) Outgoing Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is among the top three choices for PM, behind Pheu Thai’s Paetongtarn Shinawatra (top choice) and Move Forward’s Pita Limjaroenrat (second choice).
In 11 upper southern provinces, Prayut was the most favoured. The PM candidate of the United Thai Nation Party (UTNP) remains popular among conservative voters in the South.
4) Respondents undecided on party-list and constituency voting formed the biggest group in the central and western zone, lower northern zone, upper southern zone and three southern border province zones.
5) Pheu Thai is guaranteed landslide victories only in two zones of the upper North and upper Northeast.
6) In Bangkok, the Democrat Party’s PM candidate, Jurin Laksanawisit, is not far behind Prayut as choice for the next prime minister. But on the national scene, Prayut leaves Jurin far behind as Prayut is the top choice of respondents in 11 upper southern provinces, boosting his rating in the overall picture.
7) In Bangkok, the Democrat Party trails Pheu Thai and Move Forward in both party-list and constituency elections. But the Democrat rating is higher than Prayut’s UTNP, which is aligned with conservative parties.
Democrat popularity has surged ahead of the UTNP after it stepped up its election campaigning from April 4 to 12, or at nearly the same time as the Nation Poll survey from April 7 to 12.
8) Thai Sang Thai’s PM candidate Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan and Palang Pracharath’s PM candidate General Prawit Wongsuwan are less popular than Jurin in both Bangkok and nationwide.
9) The percentage of undecided respondents in Bangkok and at the national level is over 32%, or almost one-third of all respondents. They could be analysed based on their political leanings – conservative or liberal.
- Conservative respondents are undecided whether to vote for the UTNP or Democrat, but they don’t plan to vote for Pheu Thai or Move Forward.
- Undecided liberal respondents have yet to choose between Pheu Thai or Move Forward, but they do not intend to vote for the conservative camp.
10) Since the percentage of undecided respondents is over 32%, or almost one-third, other parties still have a chance to step up their campaigns in the remaining days before the May 14 election.
11) Parties in the conservative camp are more likely to cut into each other’s vote share than liberal parties stealing their votes.
For example, in the South the Democrat Party and UTNP have a similar popularity rating in Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces. Their support is also shared by the Bhumjaithai Party, increasing Pheu Thai’s chances of winning there because of the division of conservative votes.
12) Many respondents in the liberal camp do not dare to vote for Move Forward due to fears that it could deny Pheu Thai a landslide victory. They fear that without a landslide victory, Pheu Thai would lose to either UTNP or Palang Pracharath.
13) In the three southern border provinces, undecided respondents constituted the biggest group for both party-list and constituency elections.
14) Respondents who had already made up their minds to vote for either Pheu Thai or Move Forward gave their answers loud and clear, while those who supported a conservative party appeared shy to express their political stand openly.
15) The results of the party-list voting survey in the first round of survey by Nation Poll could be used to calculate the expected number of party-list House seats for the parties. However, about 32% of the respondents are still undecided.
16) The survey results on constituency voting in the eight regional zones only indicated the popularity ratings of the parties in those regions. But since the first round of surveys in the provinces were not held based on constituencies, the outcome could not be used to predict House seats in the constituencies in conformity with statistical principles. [The second round of surveys will be held based on 400 constituencies nationwide, so the results can be used to predict constituency-based House seats.]
17) By statistical principles, the results of the surveys in 8 regional zones and Bangkok’s 33 constituencies showed that Pheu Thai is still short of its goal to achieve a landslide victory. The survey results show that Pheu Thai may or may not win a landslide victory.
18) The only factor that may help Pheu Thai win a landslide victory is a favourable swing in the percentage of undecided voters.
In conclusion, all parties still have a chance to win over the electorate, depending on their campaigns during the last few weeks before the election.
How the survey was conducted
The Nation Group joined hands with leading university academics and specialists, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to organise two rounds of comprehensive and the largest surveys under the project: “Road to the Future: Election 2023 Thailand’s Future”.
The first round of surveys was held from April 7 to 12 among 39,687 respondents as follows:
Bangkok: 35,411 respondents (33 constituencies, with minimum 1,072 respondents in each constituency)
Upper North: 406 respondents
Lower North: 417 respondents
Central and West: 723 respondents
East: 420 respondents
Upper Northeast: 722 respondents
Lower Northeast: 726 respondents
11 upper southern provinces: 461 respondents
3 southern border provinces: 401 respondents
The respondents were sampled using the so-called stratified five-stage random sampling method for regions, and the stratified three-stage random sampling method for Bangkok.
The sampling of respondents in 31 provinces in eight regional zones has an error margin of 5% while the sampling of 33 Bangkok constituencies has an error margin of 3%.
The analysis is based on sampling weight and population data.