Surveys estimate there is a narrow margin of votes between Fauzi-Nachrowi and Jokowi-Basuki, the two teams vying for the Jakarta governor's seat. The public believes the religion issue will greatly influence voters' choice. Respondents refusing to answer tended to have profiles similar to those who plan to vote for Jokowi.
It was past midnight on Wednesday last week when Jokowi (Joko) Widodo arrived in a white Kijang automobile at Rumah Saya, in Pasar Minggu, his residence in Jakarta. "There are still three rounds of meetings to do," he said, smiling as usual.
He was wearing his trademark outfit: a plaid shirt, jeans, and leather shoes which, according to him he bought in Bandung for Rp350,000 at a 50 percent discount. On the porch, Joko spoke with Tempo for nearly an hour. Outside, other guests waited for their turn to meet with Jokowi. Among them was the former Regent of Sragen, Untung Wiyono, a fellow member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). Early the next morning, he took the first flight back to Solo to carry out his duties as mayor of that city.
Jokowi has been busiest nearing the second round of voting, to be held on Thursday this week. With running mate Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, he is competing with incumbent Fauzi Bowo and his running mate, Nachrowi Ramli. Joko also had to prepare for a debate which took place last Sunday.
Even with such a busy schedule, Jokowi does not look tired. He said he drinks a herbal drink of kencur rice and honey each morning, and drinks a lot of water in the afternoon. He sleeps when he can in the car. This 51-year-old does not have gray hair, claiming he does not dye it. "I routinely exercise, go around the neighborhood every morning," he said.
Fauzi Bowo is no less busy. From dawn to dusk, he travels around various locations. On Wednesday afternoon last week, he traveled outside of his 'power base' to attend a post-Ramadan gathering of business players in Jababeka, Cikarang, West Java. Among those attending were property developer, Trihatma Haliman, leader of the Podomoro Group, who is among Indonesia's richest families. Wearing a white shirt, Fauzi reappeared, accompanied by some of his communication consultants.
For the first hour of the meeting, which he received, Fauzi appeared relaxed. He lost the high-pitched voice he often used. "For sure I cannot smile left and right like others," he said. However, "I am also not angry all the time."
Fauzi, 64, has been governor of Jakarta since 2007. He speaks often about his "watch philosophy" which, according to him, he conveyed to all of his subordinates at the start of his leadership. Taking the Zenith watch worn on his right hand, he showed the mechanism which could be seen behind the rear glass of that Swiss-made watch. "All of the parts of this watch," he said, "must function well in order to show the correct time."
After losing in the first round of the election, on July 11, Fauzi said that his team was overconfident because they were always projected to be the winners. Before the election, all the surveys predicted he would beat the other candidates. The incumbent even went with the slogan 'One Round is Enough' a statement which sounds very cavalier. As a result, Jokowi-Basuki led the election with 42.6 percent of the vote. The Fauzi-Nachrowi ticket was only able to bring in 34.05 percent of the vote.
Today, Fauzi and Nachrowi are trying to overcome this deficit. Meanwhile, Jokowi-Basuki are trying to extend their lead. From the poll conducted by the Lembaga Survei Indonesia (LSI) in cooperation with Tempo from September 2 to 7, Fauzi is predicted to get about as many votes as his competitors. "The difference is still about the same as the margin of error," said Burhanuddin Muhtadi, LSI communications director.
A poll of 800 respondents, who were chosen using the stratified two-stage random sampling method, was the list of registered voters as the selection source. The selected respondents were directly interviewed by two interviewers. Control was handled by a supervisor who called selected respondents to ask for confirmation. The survey's estimated margin of error was 5 percent.
Burhanuddin had some reservations. Unlike other areas, the survey's response level in Jakarta was rather low. Of the 800 chosen respondents, only 399 were interviewed. The rest refused, or were not at home during the survey, or they had moved, or they could not even be identified, which means they are suspected of being sham voters. The random survey principle used did not allow for those who could not be met to be replaced with new respondents. "In other areas, the 'un-responsive' rate was 10 percent at most," he said.
Nevertheless, from the time this survey was taken, to the election is still rather long, about two weeks. This means, according to Burhanuddin, that there is still a large possibility that the map of voter support can change. An open debate broadcast on television took place last weekend. Most of the voters obtained their information about the candidates from this channel.
Fauzi appeared to be reserved regarding the survey results. He looks back at his experience in the first round, when the voting results were much different from the results of the polls done by the survey groups. "Hopefully the results of Tempo's survey will not end up like those done by those other groups," said Jokowi.
Jokowi, as usual, was very casual about it. When asked if he believed in the survey results, he said, "Sometimes I do, sometimes not." He said that in the first round all of the surveys placed him in second place. "Two days before the election I said, 'Ah, no, I will be number one and it will be a surprise.'
When asked if his optimism was based on a feeling or calculation, Jokowi said, "Calculations and feeling. The people were so enthusiastic, and they only thought I would get 14 percent?"
Take a deep breath: the second round of the election is about to begin.
By Budi Setyarso
No. 04/13, September 18, 2012