Malaysian opposition leads in public support: poll
Anwar was considered the more qualified prime minister choice by 43 percent of voters, compared to 39 percent for Najib, who is battling to stave off the biggest electoral threat to the ruling coalition in its 56 years in power.
The survey released late Thursday by the University of Malaya's Centre for Democracy and Elections also found that 42 percent of respondents preferred the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) policy manifesto.
Thirty-six percent preferred that of the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition, while 22 percent were undecided, it said.
"It's neck-to-neck. That's very clear," said Redzuan Othman, director of the centre, adding that the opposition was "gaining ground" in public support.
However, large blocks of voters remained undecided on key points in the survey, conducted earlier in April on more than 1,400 respondents.
Redzuan said the margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.
"The next seven days will be very, very crucial. Those will indicate whether Barisan Nasional can make up for the lost ground," Redzuan said.
Malaysia is bracing for what is widely expected to be its closest election ever, with the opposition looking to capitalise on voter disaffection over corruption, rising living costs and crime, and authoritarianism under Barisan.
It handed the coalition -- which is controlled by Najib's ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) -- the worst setback in its history in 2008 elections.
A Malaysian government spokesman said it was "difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions" from the poll.
"The prime minister is cautiously optimistic of gaining a good working majority in the election," he told AFP in an email.
The charismatic Anwar was once heir-apparent to UMNO but was ousted in 1998 and jailed for six years after a power struggle.
He joined the long-hapless opposition after his release in 2004, dramatically reversing its fortunes by uniting its divided main camps.
Amid pressure for reform, Najib has made limited liberalisation gestures and is campaigning on a promise of stability and continued economic growth.
The opposition, meanwhile, pledges to attack rampant corruption, create a more open democracy and raise incomes.
Despite the survey findings, observers say Pakatan faces an uphill climb overcoming pro-incumbent structural biases built into the electoral system by Barisan over the decades.
Pakatan won 47 percent of the nationwide vote in 2008, but just over a third of parliament.
with a huge majority. I am sure that the 22% undecided voters yet now, will turn towards the charismatic Anwar, in this polls.
This is to be expected just look at the quality of the cheramah of the opposition parties and compare it to that of Barisan. All that the oppositions have pointed out are facts but that of Barisan most of the time you have their candidates talking about religious and racial politics and all rubbish, The worst are those from MCA total nonsense and singing,please wake up this a general election not a singing contest what the public needs are not some bull**** on religion and race but what action are you going to take to benefit the public. Stop thinking that you can use the old tactics whi**** seriously outdated and an insult to the public. i guess apart from these you would have nothing to say as you cannot refute the truth of the opposition party.
Before we comment, I suggest it will be useful if we can take the trouble to really really analyse the UMCEDEL survey results available on their website. Just google UMCEDEL and you will get there.
We can be surprised how reports about the survey results written by MSN or Yahoo etc. could be written in ways to apparently favour one party over another.
By the way, the first summary slide shows that 42% says BN will win GE13 against 37% in favour of PR, with 21% undecided/unsure.
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