Indepth Analysis and Evaluation of Jokowi-Ma’ruf Campaign Strategies

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Jokowi-Ma’ruf (Foto: gesuri)

The presidential election will be held in 68 days. Within 9 weeks this was a very important period for stabilizing and reviewing the strategy of the winning team of Jokowi-Ma’ruf, given that the steps that had been taken so far were not enough to increase votes for Jokowi. Ma’ruf’s voice contribution is also not significant. Meanwhile, the margin of sound from the last survey addressed the different voices, which were increasingly depleted ± 9%.

This, of course, must be anticipated, considering that there is sound erosion in the field, not because of racial factors, religious sensitivity or incessant attacks from the Prabowo-Sandi pair, but there are some policies made by the government itself that make lower middle voters tend to shift their choices to Prabowo Sandi’s partner and also a campaign strategy that is not right on target and quality.

Voters who used to choose Jokowi for economic reasons were due to the fact that they were not satisfied with the economy during SBY’s administration. These voters experienced stagnation and increased income during the SBY administration. These voters are not categorized as emotional voters but voters who have rational economic considerations. In other words, they chose Prabowo not because Prabowo’s factor was a good choice in terms of figure and character but they wanted a leader who was not Jokowi because he felt there were some policies made by the government that did not benefit their economic condition.

The results of this report are processed based on macro data which is supported by qualitative data based on observations and results of interviews in the field using the random sampling method. The results of this report are considered reflective enough to be taken into consideration for the winning team of Jokowi-Ma’ruf.

3 Voter Psychological Demographics

Theoretically, voters are divided into three groups. Emotional groups (active and passive), rational-emotional, and rational voters. The majority of voters in Indonesia still exist at the emotional and emotional rational voter level. This is because the cultural and religious identity culture factors are still very thick and the quality of education is still lacking in quality. Emotional and emotional-rational voters are the type of voters who tend to have short-term considerations.

In addition, most Indonesian voters also belong to the silent voters, who tend to be close to their political choices. So that it cannot be described from the results of surveys that have been conducted so far. The description of the emotional condition of the voters in the field can only be done by direct interaction, observation and in-depth interviews so that the reasons and arguments of the voters can also be read and understood well.
Illustration (Photo, Keepo.me)
Rational-emotional voters are voters who have a sizeable proportion of 60% of the total voters in Indonesia. Whereas emotional and rational voters have almost balanced proportions. Emotional voters have a strong emotional and cultural ideological attachment and grow in an Islamic boarding school or tarbiah studies centre where schools and campuses are mostly centred in the science department.
While rational voters in Indonesia are still low and usually have sufficient educational backgrounds and most come from the middle to upper economy, and geographically voters who live in cities. These are those who have good analytical skills and information. So that their decisions are based on objective considerations that have long-term implications.

11 Weaknesses in Strategy and Improvement of the Jokowi-Mauf Campaign Strategy

1. The amount of dependency and trust in the results of the paid survey that has been used as a benchmark by the Jokowi-Mauf team can backfire because the data is not reflective. The survey which has been carried out by several survey institutions in Indonesia has quite basic weaknesses, namely the samples taken. Most surveyors in the area choose samples that have been previously surveyed for reasons of convenience, so that the results of the survey obtained do not adequately reflect the real conditions in the field. In addition, the majority of the samples from the survey took voters living in urban areas for reasons of easy access to surveyors. This is also confirmed by the surveyors in the area. Therefore the survey data cannot be fully used as a benchmark for the winning barometer of Jokowi-Ma’uf. In addition, the data is not reflective enough because it cannot describe the emotional condition of the economy of voters in the field.

2. Non-innovative campaign material. The Jokowi-Ma’uf team was too busy following the flow of populist political games launched by opponents. In a populist campaign strategy, what is preferred is a movement that is carefully designed but is systematic but does not have a long-term influence. For the long term, this strategy will not be able to survive especially considering the psychological condition of Indonesian voters who are forgiving and forgetful. Although it does not rule out the possibility that politics will continue to launch the same strategy. But if we look in the 2014 presidential election, the strategy launched by Prabowo also has similarities from media imaging and political strategy to populism, and it has been proven by the formation of populist imagery and the intention to work, Jokowi was able to achieve a significant victory. Thus following the rhythm of political populism which is currently being aggressively carried out by opponents will not have a significant effect, instead, it will erode the votes of the existing ones. The energy that should be used to utilize campaign material from the results and achievements of the development program is not well exposed, because it is covered by populist information.

Jokowi-Mauf indirectly has followed the political rhythm that the opponent wants. Whereas in the field the erosion of the votes from Jokowi’s voters to Prabowo was not caused by emotional sentiment but because of sentiment towards prices. In simple terms both voters, both Jokowi and Prabowo have the same type of voters, namely softcore and hardcore. Jokowi’s softcore voters moved to become Prabowo’s softcore supporters, while softcore supporters from Prabowo became his militant supporters. Thus Prabowo-Sandi’s internal strategy proved effective in educating his support to be militant. Although on Jokowi’s side there were also those like that but did not have a massive and fast rhythm like Prabowo’s supporters. This is because Jokowi ignored the contract and the establishment of political imagery that he has been listening to all this time. This is seen from the transformation of Jokowi’s character which used to be populist (blusukan) to stay away from the people. While on the other side of Sandiaga Uno, utilizing this imaging potential by visiting traditional markets or sectors that intersect directly with the lower class. Apart from any of the factors that caused the change in Jokowi’s image, it was impressive not to be populist for Jokowi’s softcore supporters.

3. Jokowi’s political narrative lately has been very aggressive but not substantive. So that it seems not qualified and forget the root of the problem in the middle to lower society. Jokowi too often does blunder and emotional political narratives, even though Jokowi’s vote is not from emotional voters but from rational-emotional and rational voters. So that the strategy is taken to defend and attack the opponent actually causes rational voters to give the impression of not sympathies such as the example of the release of Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, foreign consultants and the Russian director. In fact, Jokowi should focus on sharpening campaign material based on macro data that is adjusted to the formation of a popular image.

4. Jokowi’s winning team should also be able to read the harmonization of public political communication between each other. So there is no difference in steps and opinions between each other. Aggressive and blind communication styles are not the hallmark of Jokowi’s campaign. But this strategy seems to be represented by the campaign of legislative candidates which actually causes Jokowi’s electability to stagnate. This is different from Prabowo-Sandi’s electability which actually increased. This can be overcome by moving party machines and effective consolidation with supporting parties.

5. Jokowi must maintain harmonization of policies and one-way communication with Ministers and related officials. Dissent between the Minister in the public eye impresses harmonized strong government management. This will also have implications for the formation of Jokowi’s image which has been considered less assertive. In addition, related officials are also expected not to issue statements that can erode Jokowi’s image such as comments “whose salary are you?”. This statement seems to be a diction that the ruler has a character that tends to be authoritarian and a bad sentiment for the State Civil Apparatus (ASN).

6. The campaign strategy that has been launched so far only seems to throw a ball to the opponent who clearly has soft and hardcore supporters. It will be very difficult to win the support of these two supporters in large numbers. Therefore, Jokowi should focus on maintaining previously owned voices and also aiming for support from swing voters. This can only be achieved if Jokowi continues to attach his image as a populist person, has a program that is clear and has good faith. The energy used to answer all political allegations should be done in one direction, so there is no polemic in the last seconds.

7. Debt accusations and government weaknesses from the economic sector have been answered using very high academic language. The language should be able to be explored and understood by ordinary people because less than 0.5% of our population can understand macroeconomic terms. So far, the answers from the Ministry of Finance have been very difficult to digest by ordinary people, because the answers are clearly aimed at economists from political opponents as well as from other independent economists. However, it should be remembered that they (economists and political opponents) are not the target market, so the government should intensify the socialization of program achievements in the regions. Even if you want to answer the accusation from your opponent, then answer it in a popular language. This is what Prabowo uses, his language is much easier to understand regardless of whether it is populist but these words have the power to enter the subconscious. The use of words such as the ratio of debt, index and GDP is only a small part of the term which should be simplified using simple language.

8. Jokowi must have a price sensitivity. Based on my research covering data collection among the lower middle-class people from 2014-2018, one of the factors that most influenced the political decisions of Indonesian people was the price. Middle to lower societies is very sensitive to price changes. One of the main causes of the erosion of Jokowi’s vote was the failure to maintain the stability of the price of goods related to social life and the household’s society. The main causes of this failure are in policies based on macroeconomic calculations and very elitist. In the sense that this policy is only made from a fiscal perspective. There are no measurements made using the political economy methods and social costs resulting from the policy. Indeed, for policymakers who have a good economic capacity, they will not have a sensitivity to price changes, but for middle to lower societies, price movements are very sensitive for them. And the root of this problem is government policy that is floating fuel prices. It should be noted that the increase per Rp. 1,000 /litre of fuel triggered 30% shock inflation for food prices and logistics costs, thus triggering an increase in all prices of goods.

9. Differences in perceptions of prices that are continuously left without making a direct market review. This has led to saturation of MSME market players, which dominate the Indonesian economy and provide a poor perception for middle to lower consumers. And this price increase is not followed by a corresponding increase in salaries and income. A more detailed explanation can be seen in the example case described based on the research below. By knowing the root of the problems that occur in the field, Jokowi Team should have a high sensitivity regarding price changes that occur in the community, including an increase in the cost of airline airlines that have been complained by the public and businesses that must bear an increase in cargo logistics costs to 300%. This is very troublesome for small and medium businesses that actually have a fat voice in the presidential election later. This complaint is uniform by traders and business people. Nearly 99% of business people I interviewed refused to have Jokowi because they felt their business had been eroded by rising cargo costs, which caused their income to decrease significantly. Jokowi in this case really has ignored the problem that looks like a trivial thing but really undermines the sound support of small and medium entrepreneurs.

Please read the Study Case that I wrote earlier: Perception Difference About Price Increase
10. The last problem is that Jokowi ignored the increase in salary of civil servants which actually contributed to the 4.3 million votes proportion. Each of these civil servants has a family that can recruit a minimum of 30 million votes. With estimates, family members include Father, Mother, 3 children and husband and wife. In addition, unclear political answers and the exclusion of recruitment and appointment of civil servants who set the age limit of 35 years have caused civil servants who have served.

Written by Asmiati Malik| Political Economist based in Jakarta

This article was circulated internally on 9 February 2019 and Published at Kumparan on 17 February 2019. It seems like our recommendations have been fully adopted by Jokowi’s recent policies.