Poll shows election’s results dependent on voters that still remain undecided

A capture from the ceremony held to take the draw to decide the candidate numbers in 2023's presidential election. (Photo/Elections Commission)

A poll by Baani Centre for International Policy, a think tank based in the Maldives, shows that the results of this year’s presidential elections depend on the hands of voters who still remain undecided on who they will vote for.

While there are less than three weeks to the election, 53 percent of eligible voters remain undecided on who they will vote for as per the poll. Baani conducted this poll after the Elections Commission (EC) officially announced the names of candidates contesting the election and the Supreme Court declared opposition leader, former president Abdul Yameen Abdul Gayyoom ineligible to contest.

Comparisons between the most recent poll and earlier polls from Baani show that the number of voters who remain undecided has increased as the election nears. In August, 53 percent of voters said they remained undecided – a 10 percent increase compared to April when it was 42 percent of voters.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who led the polls since Baani began conducted them led August’s poll as well. He received a whooping percentage of 21 percent this time, his highest ever. In July, he received 19 percent.

Opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s presidential candidate meanwhile received 14 percent in August’s poll, showing supporters of Yameen have switched candidates.

One percent said their preferred candidate is not contesting.

The Democrats’ presidential candidate Ilyas Labeeb received two percent. MRM’s leader Faris Maumoon who is contesting independently, received zero percent. The remaining candidates– JP’s Qasim Ibrahim, MNP’s Mohamed Nazim and independent candidates Umar Naseer and Hassan Zameel – all received one percent.

Support for all presidential candidates is expected to increase further once 53 percent of eligible voters decide on their candidates, as per Baani. However, they stressed they are unable to anticipate the voters’ decisions.

Baani’s latest poll was conducted in a manner that representation from eligible voters across the nation is ensured alongside a 95 percent confidence level and a 5 percent margin of error. This means although the poll is conducted on several occasions, the actual results, 95 percent of the time, will fall within 5 percent of the results stated in the poll. Participants for the poll were selected through the ‘random sampling’ method.