Beyond Measuring the Voice of the People: The Evolvin g Role of Political Polling in Indonesia’s L ocal Leader Elections
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Since 2005, political polling and the application of polls-based candidacy have been enormousl y influential and, in fact, have become vital for local leader elections (Pilkada(( ), particularly in Indonesia’s districts and municipalities. The Golkar Party’s declaration that it was moving to polls-based candidacy created a domino effect, inducing other major political parties—such as the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional, PAN), the Democratic Part y (Partai Demokrat, PD), and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan, PDIP)—to follow Golkar’s approach to contestin g local constituencies. As polling becomes a new device for reforming the political recruitment process, political polling exercises have also unintendedly transformed into a means for waging a power stru ggle. Political actors have exploited polling as a tool for gaining a political vehicle, as a map for soliciting bribes, as a map for guiding the mobilization of votes, and as a means for invitin g an indirect bandwagon effect. In short, political polling has moved beyond acting as a tracker of voters’ preferences to become a popular political device.