Thailand: Voter turnout tipped to hit new high

  • The 24 Mar 19 election could see an unprecedented voter turnout, according the King Prajadhipok’s Institute (KPI), which found that almost 95.9% of people who responded to its latest survey, carried out from 7 Mar 19 to 10 Mar 19, who said that they intend to vote, a rise from the previous poll earlier in Mar 19 where 95.4% said they planned to vote.
  • It is the fifth poll-related survey the KPI has conducted with 1,540 respondents nationwide, according to KPI secretary-general Wutthisan Tanchai.
  • The proportion of people who said they believe their votes are important for improving the country rose from 67.7% in the previous survey to 70.4%, a significant rise in voters’ confidence in the value of their votes, according to Mr Wutthisan.
  • When asked what factors the voters take into account when deciding who to vote for, the majority agreed that they would go for individual candidates, followed by their parties and their parties’ PM candidates.
  • Noting the results, Mr Wuttisan said most voters pay more attention to individual candidates and prefer those they think they can turn to for help in the constituencies, as this is proof that the patronage system is still prevalent in society, adding that with higher loyalty to a particular election candidate, the voters will continue to be attached to him or her even if the candidate has already switched from one party to another.
  • Meanwhile, Mr Wutthisan said the Election Commission (EC) should step up measures to tackle malicious fake news about the election and the poll candidates. He also warned voters to be wary of election information they receive and make the effort to verify it. He advised the media to avoid relaying biased judgements with references to the branding of certain parties to avoid polarisation in society.

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