In the lead-up to the July 3 election, BP has blogged on a number of polls as follows (from oldest to newest):

  • The E-san poll, as blogged about here and here, which surveyed all 20 provinces in the Northeast which looked at who those surveyed would cast their party vote for (Puea Thai 63.9%, Democrats, 20.7%, and Bhum Jai Thai, 9.1%),
  • Nationwide NIDA poll which looked at who people would cast their constituency vote for (Puea Thai 23%, Democrats 20%, Bhum Jai Thai 3%, undecided 53%),
  • Nationwide Suan Dusit poll which showed who people would cast their party vote for (Puea Thai 41%, Democrats 37%, Bhum Jai Thai 4% OR if you remove the undecideds and those who will vote no you get Puea Thai 45%, Democrats 41%, Bhum Jai Thai 4%),
  • Bangkok-only DPU poll which showed that Puea Thai would win 19 constituencies, Democrats 5 and the rest were too close to call, and
  • Nationwide Suan Dusit poll which showed who people would cast their party vote for (Puea Thai 43%, Democrats 37%, Bhum Jai Thai 3% OR if you remove the undecideds and those who will vote no you get Puea Thai 47%, Democrats 41%, Bhum Jai Thai 3%),
  • Poll of the Lower North showing how people would cast their party vote for (Puea Thai 23.2%, Democrats 22.2%, 4.5% for other parties, and 50.1% were undecided),
  • Nationwide NIDA poll which looked at who people would cast their constituency vote for (Puea Thai 22%, Democrats 13%, undecided 64%) and party vote (Puea Thai 23%, Democrats 13%, undecided 64%),
  • Nationwide Bangkok-only DPU Poll which shows that Puea Thai is leading in the constituency vote 47% to Dems 40% and party vote 47% to Dems 39%, and
  • a Bangkok University poll that showed that Puea Thai is leading 33.6% to 17.6% for the Democrats in Bangkok for the party vote.

BP: BP has posted about the accuracy of Thai polls and the problem of using a single poll – hence why we have the above refresher which will be included and updated for future posts on polls. Polls may be poorly worded and not so reflective of those who will vote on July 3, but they are no data points and together with other information we can use them to evaluate.

Suan Dusit have now released a large nationwide poll (PDF) which surveyed more than 102,994 people in all 375 constituencies nationwide. The survey is only of who people will case their party vote for. The survey was conducted June 4-18. No survey data methodology is available online  and there is only one question.

Q1. Who will you cast your party vote for?

However, the “Vote No” will not be counted when deciding how to divide up seats and  if you remove the “Vote No” and the “Undecided” (thus, assuming that no party gains more than the other parties) and you get the below chart:

Then, if you compare last week’s Suan Dusit poll to this one for the Democrats and Puea Thai (this is with the ‘no vote’ and undecideds included):

Then, if you compare last week’s Suan Dusit poll to this one for the Democrats and Puea Thai (this is with the ‘no vote’ and undecideds excluded):

BP: BP has a few points as per below:

1. The poll is good news for Puea Thai and bad for the Democrats. Puea Thai’s margin over the Democrats has increased from  5.5% to 17.5%. There is no other way to sum up the bad news for the Democrats. Even if the poll undersamples those in the South, it also undersamples voters in the North and the Northeast, and oversamples voters in the Central Region where the Democrats do comparatively better so if anything this poll is slightly more favorable to the Democrats.

NOTE: On undersampling, the North is about 19% of Thailand’s total population and the Northeast 33% yet 52% of those surveyed are not from the North and Northeast.

On the raw numbers including ‘no vote’ and undecideds, Puea Thai have gone from 43% to 52% whereas the Democrats have dropped from 37.45% to 34.05% compared with the previous Suan Dusit poll released May 29.

The ironic thing about all of this is that the electoral system was changed to increase the number of party list MPs from 80 to 125 MPs and this would help the Democrats as they did comparatively better for the party vote in 2007 and were expected to do the same this time around. The latest Suan Dusit poll says this is not panning out as planned (for now) and the change is not helping the Democrats…

2. Puea Thai have surged in Bangkok from 36% to 52% (raw numbers) whereas the Democrats have dropped from 39% to 34%. If the Democrats cannot win Bangkok, it is virtually impossible that they can form the next government. Together, with the other recent polls looking at all 33 constituency seats, the Democrats have a lot of ground to make up. Hence, this is one reason why they have gone more negative in recent days against Puea Thai. They can no longer afford to play it safe so have gone for a high-risk, high-reward strategy.

3. The beacon of hope for the Democrats is that they are doing comparatively better in the North – rise from 14.66% to 31.49% – although if BP was to take an educated guess that one reason is that the latest poll is more reflective of regions as a whole given it surveyed all 375 constituencies and was not just of certain provinces or certain areas within provinces where support between the Democrats and Puea Thai can vary dramatically. Note: the same goes for the Democrats doing “worse” in the Northeast when in fact the latest poll is probably a more accurate reflection of the entire Northeast and hence they are not doing that much worse – see how the vote totals between May 23 and May 29 for Puea Thai and the Democrats in the North and the Northeast vary so much.

Essentially, Puea Thai are doing much better than the Democrats because of their lead in Bangkok and the Central Regions.

4. On the low number of undecideds compared to previous polls, there is note at the end of the poll stating that if those polled gave the answer “undecided” (“ผู้ที่ยังไม่ตัดสินใจ”), “unsure/wavering on who to vote for” (“ผู้ที่ลังเลว่าจะเลือกใคร”), and those who said they “wouldn’t say” (“ผู้ที่ไม่ยอมบอก”), that the person who was surveying then asked the person surveyed who they were voting for. The note says this was done to provide a clearer picture.

In polling parlance, these people are called ‘leaners’ (amongst other names). Ideally, the poll would have done two graphs: one including leaners and one that didn’t. This would be useful to see the solid vote for each of the parties as well as who leaners were intending to vote for. Of course, by there very nature ‘leaners’ can be persuaded to change their vote so the Democrats still have some hope to reverse the gap…

5. On undecideds, a recent report (PDF) from Credit Suisse First Boston notes on page 4:

Edge to Suan Dusit

That said, we give the most weight to the Suan Dusit polls. Suan Dusit has campuses throughout the country and is able to send students to conduct surveys in remote provinces. Suan Dusit’s sample sizes are by far the largest (Figure 8). We suspect that one reason why Suan Dusit shows much lower levels of undecided voters than NIDA is that NIDA interviews by phone while Suan Dusit interviews in person.

BP: Actually, the whole report is interesting although disagree with the analysis in parts – that is for a post for another day – but perhaps people are more trusting to tell students (who one assumes are in uniform) and who are local compared to someone telephoning from Bangkok.

Having said, the latest NIDA poll (post to come!) which usually shows a much higher number of undecideds than Suan Dusit polls, has undecideds dropping from around 50% to less than 30% so it is clear that more people are making up their minds.