PAKATAN Harapan will be able to form the next government after the 14th general election, even with three-cornered contests, if current voter sentiments continue, said a think tank.
Invoke Malaysia said based on its latest survey conducted last month and this month, PH would win 115 out of the 222 parliamentary seats.
Invoke is a think tank and voter mobilisation outfit led by Pandan MP and PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli.
Its projection for PH stands even in three-cornered fights against the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and the PAS-led Gagasan Sejahtera Rakyat.
This claim, however, runs contrary to the studies of various political analysts in the past, who argue that multi-cornered contests have historically benefited BN as they split the votes going to the opposition.
Invoke projects that in such a scenario, BN would win 107 parliamentary seats, while PAS would be left with no seats at all. A political party needs control of 112 seats in the Dewan Rakyat to form the government.
In Peninsular Malaysia, PH is projected to win 102 out of 165 parliamentary seats, while BN is expected to take 63.
PH is expected to capture eight and five parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak, respectively, while BN would be left with 14 and 26 seats, respectively.
Currently, BN holds 132 parliamentary seats, PH (70), PAS (15) and Parti Warisan Sabah (two).
The Invoke survey involved 5,000 voters who were randomly chosen throughout the country. It also canvassed the sentiments of 1,500 voters in marginal seats, which are expected to see close fights between BN and PH.
The national survey was conducted from December 5 to 13, while the marginal seats study was carried out from November 6 to December 15.
Rafizi said among its findings was that only 41% of Malays nationwide said they would vote for Umno in a three-cornered contest.
About 50% of Umno’s Malay voters agreed that the goods and services tax was a burden, and they would support scrapping it.
“This means that Malay support for Umno will continue to decrease, as even their voters are hard hit by the rising cost of living ,” said Rafizi in a statement.
Invoke said voter support for Umno was lower in key battleground states, such as Kedah and Johor.
Only 31% of Malay voters in the Kulim Bandar Baharu and Merbok parliamentary seats, for instance, would vote for Umno in a three-cornered contest.
“This signals that support for Umno in Kedah is lower than it is nationally.”
In Johor Baru, only 30% of voters would choose Umno in a three-cornered fight, the survey revealed.
“This figure is in keeping with a study by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Centre of the National University of Singapore, which found that Umno’s support level among Malays is 35% throughout Johor.
“So, Umno’s support in urban areas such as Johor Baru is even lower.”
Support for PAS in a three-cornered contest had dropped to 14% from 25% one year ago, Invoke said.
“PAS’ support among Malay voters is likely to erode further in the coming months. The survey showed that 21% of Malay voters who chose PAS will sit out of GE14 if PAS is not contesting, compared with 51% who will vote for PH. ”
Meanwhile, Chinese voter support for PH has returned to its 2013 level of more than 80%, with the same occurring with Indian voters.
“Likewise, Indian voting preference mirrors the pre-2013 level at 60% for BN and 40% for PH.