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IFES Survey on Indonesian Political Attitudes Reveals Satisfaction with Democracy, Lack of Political Information


IFES survey offers insights into public attitudes toward political institutions and electoral process  

JAKARTA – More than one year after the 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections, a majority of Indonesians believe that the country is headed in the right direction and a clear majority expresses support for democracy in Indonesia. Still, a significant majority of Indonesians lack information on critical aspects of the election process for the ongoing local elections.

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The survey conducted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the world’s leading election-assistance and democracy promotion NGO, finds that 59% believe that the country is headed in the right direction with a quarter (25%) saying that it is headed in the wrong direction. There is strong support for democracy as 72% say they prefer a democratic system of government with only 4% expressing support for a non-democratic system of government. The survey also finds that electoral institutions, including the General Elections Commission (KPU), enjoy majority satisfaction.

Seventy-eight percent of Indonesians strongly or somewhat agree that voting gives them influence over decision-making in the country and a majority of those residing in areas where local elections have yet to be conducted indicate that they are very or somewhat likely to vote in these elections. This enthusiasm for elections is accompanied, however, by a significant lack of information on electoral processes.  Nearly eight in ten (78%) say that they do not have much or any information on the local elections, and majorities indicate that they need more information on critical aspects of the local election process: the vote-counting process (74%), participating political parties and candidates (73% each), how to mark the ballot (64%), and the voter registration process (57%).

While Indonesians value the influence that voting gives them, they are also open to changes in the way the election process works in Indonesia. More than three-quarters (77%) express support for voting directly for a candidate to represent them in parliament rather than voting for a party. There is also general support for insulating the KPU from political pressures as 62% support barring election commissioners from joining a political party for five years after they leave the KPU.

Several institutions critical to the political process in Indonesia enjoy positive satisfaction ratings. Sixty-six percent of Indonesians express satisfaction with the performance of President Yudhoyono. Nearly three-quarter of Indonesian (72%) are satisfied with the KPU, and a majority also expresses satisfaction with the performance of their provincial governors (64%), their regent or mayor (62%), the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK, 57%), and Vice-President Boediono (52%).

This survey was made possible through the generous support from the Australian Government’s aid program. The survey was managed by the F. Clifton White Applied Research Center (ARC) at IFES. Fieldwork was conducted by Polling Center, a private polling organization in Jakarta. The sample for this survey comprised 2,500 respondents and the data is representative of the national population in Indonesia.  The margin of error for the national data is plus/minus 2%.


IFES promotes democratic stability by providing technical assistance and applying field-based research to the electoral cycle worldwide to enhance citizen participation and strengthen civil societies, governance and transparency.