Below are the most relevant questions related to the Constitution Court decision from three polls, namely (1) ABAC poll of 17 provinces throughout the country, (2) Suan Dusit poll of 14 large provinces, and (3) Isan poll of all 20 provinces in the Northeast.
ABAC conducted a survey between July 13-14 in 17 provinces throughout the country (กรุงเทพมหานคร เพชรบุรี สระบุรี นครปฐม ชลบุรี กำแพงเพชร เพชรบูรณ์ เชียงใหม่ มหาสารคาม ร้อยเอ็ด นครราชสีมา เลย ขอนแก่น อุบลราชธานี นราธิวาส นครศรีธรรมราชและสงขลา). Survey data at the end of this post.*
Q1.1: What is your opinion after the Constitution Court decision (ความคิดเห็นหลังจากศาลรัฐธรรมนูญตัดสิน)?
A. Accept and will persuade others to accept, 23.3%
B. Accept, but will persuade others as will let others think for themselves, 61.4%
C. Don’t accept and will persuade others not to accept, 6.5%
D. Don’t accept, but will not persuade others not to accept, 8.8%
BP: Accept does not mean agree with so you can say people in (a) may not necessarily agree with the decision. For those who disagree, do they think the wrong was to get involved in the case (a red shirt view)? Or do they think the court was wrong not to dissolve Puea Thai ( a yellow short view)?
NOTE: To clarify, am not sure that this is the official yellow shirt leader view, but of some people who really dislike the government, BP has heard them refer to the court very negatively after the decision….
Q1.2: Do you support amending the constitution?
A. Support amending some sections (สนับสนุนให้แก้ไขเป็นบางมาตรา), 52.3%
B. Support amending whole constitution (สนับสนุนให้แก้ไขทั้งฉบับ), 14.9%
C. Don’t support at all (ไม่สนับสนุนเลย), 32.8%
BP: Dividing this up is slightly difficult. (C) one could be characterized as those who oppose the government and don’t want the government to amend at all. (B) is those who For (A), it is more complicated and it is part of the problem for the government in the CDA process. We don’t actually know – except for some limited prohibitions on what cannot be amended – on how many sections will be amended. The CDA will review the entire charter, but they may not amend all the provisions. (A) can be up for grabs by both those who oppose what the government wants to do and those support the CDA although (A) does indicate that people are not looking for complete wholesale reform and want a more limited
There is also no question about whether a referendum – see Q3.2 below for arelated point when you look at the E-Saan poll.
NOTE: (A) refers to “some sections” and not “by sections” (i.e which may convey the meaning of section-by-section), as per this translation.
Q1.3. Are you concerned that the conflict will become violent after the court decision?
A. Concerned, 57.9%
B. Not concerned, 42.1%
Q4. Period of time that you will give an opportunity for the current government to work under Yingluck
A. Less than 6 months, 17.3%
B. 6-12 months, 10.5%
C. 1-2 years, 10.8%
D. More than 2 years until the end of term, 61.4%
BP: Again, this is difficult to quantify precisely. Was initially not going to include this question as does not directly relate to the constitution amendment question, but then again it does indirectly relate in terms of an assessment of opposition to the government. For (A) and to a slightly lesser extent for (B), you can say it those who really oppose the government. For (C), they may oppose, but want to give the government a chance, see how the government goes up implementing their policy, and/or don’t really want another election in the immediate future.
For (D), BP thinks you should be careful in characterizing these as government supporters although you can characterize them as they don’t oppose the government. Clearly, government supporters are going to be in (D) and not (A), (B), and (C), but some in (D) may not necessarily be fans of the government. They may be neutrals, may want to give the government more time to implement their policies (ie it could also including swing voters who voted for the Democrats last time, but could switch depending on their assessment of the overall government) and/or simply don’t want a change of government now.
2. Suan Dusit poll surveyed 1,262 people between July 13-14 in 14 large provinces
Q2. 1. What is your opinion of the Constitution Court decision?
A. Relieved that no violence happened/helps the political situation, 62.55%
B. Regardless of whether like or dislike, want people to accept decision, 18.52%
C. Need to wait to see what the government does with the amendment, 11.93%
D. Country will develop, 7%
Q2.2 Do you agree with the Constitution Court decision?
A. Yes, 81.67%
B. No, 18.33%
BP: This is quite different from the result in Q1.1 in the ABAC poll. On one hand, you could say this is good for the government agreement could be characterized as meaning they agree that Puea Thai should not have been dissolved and the government can proceed. On the other hand, people may agree with the decision as they like the second referendum (i.e referendum before setting up a CDA) as they see this as another check-and-balance. See Q2.3 for more.
Q2.3. What do you think the government should do in regards to the amendment?
A. Slow down the process, 45.91% BECAUSE don’t want there to be chaos, society lacks happiness, many other problems that the government should promptly solve especially problems of the people of solving economic problems and preventing floods
B. Proceed, 35.13% BECAUSE the government can proceed with managing the country fully, some sections should be amended to be appropriate for the current situation
C. Unsure, 18.96%
BP: Those in (B) most likely support the government. (A) can include government supporters who just want the process slowed down or those who oppose the government and want much longer delays.
E-Saan poll surveyed 1,050 people between July 14-15 from all 20 provinces in the Northeast. Survey data at the end of this post.**
NOTE: While ABAC slightly under-samples those with Bachelor’s or higher (25.8% of total), this contrasts to the E-Saan poll which has just under 60% of respondents with a Bachelor’s or higher including 10% with post-graduate degree. This a very high oversampling of those with a Bachelor’s let alone more than a Bachelor’s particularly considering it excludes Bangkok where many graduates as a % of the population reside. Around 30% would be more accurate.
The relevance is that previous polls show that Yingluck and Puea Thai do much better with those with less than a bachelor’s versus compared with the Democrats who do much better with those with a post-graduate degree. Obviously, though the poll is still of the Northeast which is clearly Puea Thai “country”, but the skewed sample impacts the results.
Q3.1. On following the news about the decision about the Constitution Court
A. 43.6%, following to a reasonable level (พอสมควร)
B. 12%, follow closely (อย่างใกล้ชิด)
C. 36.4%, don’t really follow the news (ที่ไม่ค่อยได้ติดตาม)
D. 8%, not interested in following (ที่ไม่สนใจติดตามข่าวนี้เลย)
BP: Just included this to show, as most polls internationally show, that a large percentage of the electorate are not necessarily following the day-to-day news.
Q3.2. If you had power to make a decision, what would it be?
A. 48.2%, parliament to amend some provisions and for there to be a referendum if the whole charter is amended (ให้รัฐสภาแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญได้เพียงบางมาตรา และให้ทำประชามติถามความเห็นประชาชนก่อนหากจะแก้ทั้งฉบับ)
B. 25.5%, no opinion
C. 14.8%, parliament just to proceed with the reading (ให้สภาดำเนินการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญตามวาระได้เลย)
D. 10.8%, dissolve Puea Thai because there is an intention to overthrow the constitutional monarchy (ให้ยุบพรรคเพื่อไทยเพราะมีเจตนาล้มล้างการปกครองในระบอบประชาธิปไตย อันมีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข)
BP: Ok, (D) is clearly the core Democrat base & PAD wing. For (B), it could be a mixture of don’t know, don’t want to say etc. For (C), this appears to be more related for parliament proceeding with the CDA, but this may depend on how people interpret the question as they also mean section-by-section.
For (A), well this is not a option in the current proposals. There is no provision for parliament to amend some sections and then there is a referendum. There is either parliament amends section-by-section and there is no referendum or the CDA is set-up and there is a referendum. The CDA is like parliament in the sense it is mostly elected although there is an extra cost for the CDA election
Q3.3. Will amending the constitution solve political problems?
A. 52% say “no”.
B. 23.2% say “yes”.
C. 24.8% have no opinion.
BP: This doesn’t mean that people don’t want the government to amend the constitution, but if a clear majority viewed that amending the constitution would solve the political crisis then it would likely be more popular.
Q3.4. On dissolving the Constitution Court
A. 46% disagree
B. 38.5% have no opinion
BP: While some in the reds and Puea Thai want this to happen. It is very unlikely and as you can see it is not popular We are much more likely to see an Elected Senate and Parliament having a major role in selecting and/or confirming senior judges.
CONCLUSION: Some of the wording of the questions and answers is a little confusing so there is no clear result which you can say definitively what the poll results mean. Some points though:
1. Clear majority either accept or agree with the Court decision. If anything this makes it harder to dissolve the Court. Even in the Northeast, there is not support for dissolving the Constitution Court. It may be possible to weaken the power of the Court i.e by amending Section 68 to prohibit the Court from accepting petitions directly etc.
2. The polls show that people view that amendments won’t solve the political crisis.
3. Nevertheless, despite the answer in 2, polls also show a majority want some type of amendment although it does depend on the specific form of the amendment and the timing of the amendment. Once the written court decision is released, the government will need to make a clear decision on what amendment procedure it wants to take, the process, and the timing. Once the government makes a choice, it will need to sell and it and specific poll questions then to clarify whether people agree or not with that particular process. BP plans to write a further post on the different options and possible problems ahead.
*ABAC Poll Survey Data
Less than 20, 4.7%
Less than Bachelor’s, 74.2%
Bachelor’s degree, 22.8%
More than Bachelor’s degree, 3.9%
BP: Would say around 70% less than bachelor’s vs 30% bachelor’s or higher would be more accurate.
33.4% are farmers/contractors,
31.5% are traders/self-employed,
8.7% work for private enterprises,
8.6% are civil servants/state enterprise employees,
7.1% are housewives/househusbands/retired,
7.4% are students, and
3.2% didn’t specify a job/unemployed.
BP: This is very close to previous polls. Good to see consistency…
**E-saan Poll Survey Data
Less than 20, 8.4%
Grade 6 or lower (ประถมศึกษา/ต่ำกว่า), 11.7%
Grade 9 (มัธยมศึกษาตอนต้น), 8%
Grade 12/vocational certificate (มัธยมศึกษาตอนปลาย/ปวช), 13.8%
Associate degree/higher vocational certificate (อนุปริญญา/ปวส), 6.8%
Bachelor’s degree, 49.5%
Master’s degree & 10.1%
BP: That is a very high number of those with a bachelor’s degree and Masters and very low with Grade 6 or lower.