Analysis of PE2011 Result

Before polling, I made my prediction to close friends. I posted that prediction on my personal Facebook before counting results came in, at around 10 pm on polling night. I didn’t post it publicly before voting ended because I did not want my predictions to influence voting. My post was:

Now that counting is underway and I am just back from shopping, let me share what I had predicted to close friends:
TT will take around 60% of PAP votes. TJS will take 60% of Opp votes. TCB takes most of the rest (40% of both PAP and Opp). That means TT may win TCB narrowly. TJS will do reasonably well but hard to cross 25%. Winner will have less than 40% overall, maybe around 36%. Sorry, TKL. You tried.

Based on the GE2011 results, that would mean 60% x 60% = 36% for Dr Tony Tan, 60% x 40% = 24% for Mr Tan Jee Say. Based on GE2011 3-corner fight result, I felt Mr Tan Kin Lian could garner around 5-6% of the votes only, which would have left Dr Tan Cheng Bock with around 34-35%, a close second.

The final result was amazingly close, closer than I had imagined.

I based my prediction on a fairly crude model. Being a political person, I now have access to many people who volunteered to tell me who they are voting. I must have met or had Facebook and email exchanges with over 100 people. I scanned the social media such as TOC and TRE to gauge sentiments.

I asked 2 key questions: (1) Who are you voting for and (2) which party do you normally vote for in GEs. In many cases, I did not even need to ask the second question as many that I interact with are in the opposition camp. Most volunteered to tell me the reasons for their choice as well.

While PE is not supposed to be a political contest, it nevertheless reflects the political desires of the people with proxy fights based on political ideologies.

The results were (after some generalisation of reasons):

  1. I found around 40% of PAP voters going for TCB. Those who would go for TCB may have some personal interactions with him previously or felt that he was truly sincere about his mission and had the heart for the people. They expressed reservations about why TT was in the race. Those who would go for TT felt he was best qualified or would simply vote for him because they knew he was the official choice of the PAP. I found no PAP supporters willing to go for TJS or TKL.
  2. The opposition side is split between TJS and TCB. The moderate opposition supporters were inclined towards TCB. The vocal opposition supporters went for TJS. I met more TCB supporters on the opposition camp than TJS supporters. However, I knew my circle of interaction had more moderate supporters. From my scan of the vocal online media such as TRE and TOC and looking at TOC’s survey, I felt after accounting for the more vocal group, around 60% of those who voted opposition in GE2011 would go for TJS.  I found almost none that would go for TT (yes, I said almost none, because there were a small handful that felt PE should be about the person rather than political ideologies and they went for TT despite voting opposition in GEs).
  3. I found few TKL supporters. He was the second choice of a number of people. Those who felt strongly that they could not support any former PAP senior members would pick TJS first and TKL second. Those who felt we should not have an aggressive president but could not support TT because he was the choice of the PAP would pick TCB first and TKL second.  Unfortunately, there is no prize for being second in the one-vote system. Based on this, I used the percentage from Punggol East 3-cornered fight in GE to predict a slightly better votes’ percentage share for TKL than Desmond Lim.
  4. Most of the opposition supporters’ dilemma centred around choosing TJS or TCB. It was a fluid situation that changed with additional press and online reports, debates and media broadcasts. These were for votes from the moderate opposition camp.

The final result shows a number of things:

  1. There is currently a base of around 36% who would support PAP rock solid. Hougang’s result in GE2011 sort of reflected this. Hougang is the strongest opposition base with a young rookie PAP candidate contesting. Desmond Choo’s 36% reflected the percentage of people that are solidly behind whatever PAP do.  In Alex Au’s Yawningbread recent blog, he shared a story of several elderly ladies in a coffeeshop talking about how they would vote. One said that it was simple. Just go into the poll and look for the lightning symbol! They do not care about the other candidates. Just go for the lightning. In this case, go for the person implicitly representing the party’s choice. Hence, the clever use of unions and associations to support a candidate. It is a proxy to the party’s choice and the mainstream media would dutifully publicise the endorsement. It is not to force their members to vote en-bloc but to indicate to the ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ PAP supporters who the establishment’s choice is.  
  2.  There is a vocal opposition group of supporters who will always choose the one who is the most anti-PAP. That vote went to TJS. However, given that TJS did have a good career track record, he pulled in some votes from the middle ground as well. However, by positioning himself as the opposition-type, he could not draw votes from the usual PAP voters, which meant it was impossible for him to win but he would finish well.
  3. There’s a moderate ground prepared to accept a good compromise candidate. TCB represented this middle ground. He could pull in voters from both the opposition and PAP camps. TCB marketed himself as an independent-minded guy with the capabilities to fit the office.
  4. There is no fourth group. TKL appealed to none of the above groups as their first choice. Second choice does not count!

PE2011 offered analysis not possible in GE because:

  1. There was only one 3-corner fight in GE where the choices were obvious: either for PAP or for the strongest opposition proposition.
  2. The candidates in PE2011 have credible track records, having to go through a stringent PEC qualification. Three of the candidates positioned themselves nicely into the pro-PAP, pro-opposition and middle ground. That is something we did not have in GE.
  3. Voting in PE is across the whole country making it like a referendum on the agenda presented by the candidates. In a GE, there are differences between political parties in their ideologies and also in the slate of candidates. That makes it more difficult to compare results across constituencies.

Having said all these, we follow the first-past-the-post election system. Even if it was by a single vote, the winner takes all.

Dr Tony Tan is the 7th president of Singapore. Let us congratulate Dr Tony Tan, whatever your political ideologies may be. He will enter the office with a burden to bridge the divide in expectations. It is useful to study why Dr Tan Cheng Bock was popular enough to garner 35% of the votes despite the tough 4-cornered competition that had damaged his chances much more than it did for Dr Tony Tan. TCB represents something significant for the people of Singapore – a desire for a president that has passion for the people and independence to check the government, when it is necessary. The fact that he could draw strong supporters and votes from both the opposition and the PAP camps was amazing. It showed that what he stood for had the chance to unify a political divided country.

I did not vote for the late president Ong Teng Cheong because of political ideologies. But he won my respect during his term in office for proving that he truly could cast aside his political baggage and challenge the government when it mattered. I am prepared to do likewise for Dr Tony Tan.

To Dr Tan Cheng Bock, congratulations for putting up an honourable contest. You have demonstrated that it is possible to rally people from both side of the political divide. I am reminded of Al Gore, who lost a bitterly close election to be president of the United States of America to George Bush. It must have been really shattering for him to win the popular votes but not the electoral college and even so by technical problems with the automated counting system. Yet Al Gore bounced back to make himself useful championing causes he believes in.

So, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, even though you are not our president, I hope you will continue in this work that you have started.

68 comments on “Analysis of PE2011 Result

  1. what makes you think this PE results reflect well for the pap? you sounded as if you do believe so.

    I would like to hear your opinion.

    • Dear fpc

      Not sure how you arrived at that conclusion from my article. How can a sure-win 4-corner contest that degenerated into a tight 0.34% be good for the ruling party? If anything, it revealed a big gap in what they need to do to win back the ground or it will haunt them in the next GE.

      • Best analysis i have come across by far.. and the worst is that which attributes the tough fight to s’poreans’ preferred choice of candidates with long records in public service (as mp or in governmental roles).

      • Excellent analysis! However, I think PAP can and have already spin the rhetoric to say that their ‘guys’ garnered 70% of the votes. Having control of the mainstream media I feel is the biggest advantage PAP have over others. Much have been said about social media but I feel we have already seen the limit of their potential at least at this juncture. Hence the opposition members need to fore go the media shortcut and go back to the basics by working the ground in anticipation of 2016. If not, we will lament the ‘short campaigning period’ again in 5 years’ time.

        Remember, PAP have a head-start of 40+ years.

  2. Good analysis. I will add that the 36% hardcore pro-PAP segment of the population is eroding with each election. Many of them are oldies who simply were conditioned to look out for the lightning sign whether rain or shine. A scan of the internet and social media reveals that 8-9 out of 10 are rather anti-PAP if not anti-establishment. I believe the opposition can bet on PAP losing 2/3 majority by 2021 GE.

    • Agree, with each election every 5 years, maybe 20% of those above 65 yo will pass off, a group of new votes 21-24 will come in. In Singapore the 7000+ votes for TT may also come from new citizens.

      What I didn’t like is the last days before PE2011 the main stream media start to “threaten” by saying that investors will leave Singapore if TT is not voted in.

      1. Non of the PE candidates are against foreign investors, I am sure all of them welcome overseas investors.

      2. The President has no veto powers on foreign investments etc. The whole policy on foreign investments is set by the government. The President can only “private talk” with the PM with no major influence..

      PAP may not loose 2/3 majority in 2021, they may have more tricks to use depending on the scenario at that time.

      The opposition’s ability to attract good players may help to secure their future, but have to bear in mind the uneven playing field and dirty tricks.

      • Thanks JJ for your analysis and well done in GE.

        In response to Roy and Monica, I want to ask the both of you why do you think that those that voted for Tony Tan are old folks who do not know what they are doing. I think you do not give enough credit to the those who considered very carefully and choose to vote Dr Tony Tan. Likewise, some others who choose the other candidates may possibly cast their votes likely. Whether the ruling party will lose their majority in future elections will depend on whether they are responsive to people’s concerns and whether there is a capable opposition by then to become an alternative. There are people who are genuinely concerned that Singapore will be weaken if no one steps forward (whether for the ruling party or for opposition) to serve all of us in future. By tearing down the ruling party before a viable alternative forms may not be good. Part of the reason why new citizens choose to vote for Dr Tony Tan could be the same reason why they want to become Singaporeans in the first place – they think that Singapore is a good place to live compared to where they came from previously. They treasure our achievements that we sometimes take for granted.

  3. Good article Yee Jen,

    However I would like to add another variable into your analysis. The new citizen. Generally they tend to vote incumbent. And my interaction with them has convinced me of this.

    In the last four years this has been accelerated, my estimate is that anything from 10-20% of the eligible voting population. And unlike the old Singaporean would have stayed to vote and not scooted of to some nearby holiday destination totally abdicating their responsibility.

    If you take them out TCB has a significant popular mandate. I am sure TT will be aware of this. In this instance at least the new citizen has repaid their benefactors.

    Abir Barua

    • Yes, they do form a sizeable group. Over time, some change affiliation to opposition. I do agree that initially, they are pro-establishment. Joo Chiat SMC is popular with some groups of new citizens.

      • that can be a scenario. the suirrpse factor now is the young voters. this is a unpredictable element unlike their parents who opted for safety. the young can do anything to defy.the forum with lky and the young people is an eye opener. lky is clearly out of sync with the young. his brand of hardball politics cannot buy him any grounds. you could see the young people feeling very uncomfortable and unconvinced and would have shouted him down if he is not lky.they just cannot stomach unfair practices. their youth idealism and sense of justice would not accept that things have to be unequal and unjust. they want fair just never know how they will vote.

  4. Hi JJ,

    I too expected TT to narrowly win and TCB the runner-up but did not come out with accurate figures like you did, kudos to that.

    I voted for the 2nd runner-up but I secretly hoped that TCB wins when I read that the vote counts for both TT and TC were close. I think the new citizens play a big role in helping pushing TT vote percentage up.

    Even though the last thing I want is another PAP man to become the president but one has to accept the fact that to most Singaporeans , money is everything. PAP strangle us by holding our economy hostage.

    I think the only chance Singapore get to see a change is when we have a strong opposition with more people like Chen Show Mao and Nicole Seah. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen soon as we cannot unite. PAP know that too.

  5. Good analysis of the PE results. Also interesting to note the split between the PAP camp for TT and TCB. Would the group who voted for TCB support a very credible opposition candidate in the next GE? If it’s still about party lines, probably not.

  6. My brother who has been supporting PAP voted for TJS. So did his girlfriend and her whole family and they live in the area where Vivian Balakrishnan is the MP. Some friends of mine who are the blur blur don’t know who to vote type for simply voted TT because they have seen his face so many times, they just thought that this is a safe vote.

    I think what the news and TV can do next time is to help us understand who these candidates are, because in many ways, coverage has not been fair enough. There also should be a rule to stop all unheard of unions or organisations from suddenly coming out to endorse anyone, which will only give the person more publicity. PAP is just being sneaky. All unions are PAP no?

    • Your brother would be one of the few who crossed from PAP into TJS becaue there was TCB holding the middle ground that those crossing over would find it easier to accept. Similiarly it was difficult to find opposition voters that voted TT, although I know of one definite TT and another considering TT, out of over 100.

      The endorsements were probably part of a plan to keep TT on the news as being the preferred man. Imagine if was just NTUC telling us once all the unions are supporting TT, it would make the news once and e may miss the news. But if every day, there are several unions, associations, clans and federations endorsing TT, the media would pick it up. So everyday, you get new endorsements.

      With SR Nathan previous ‘elections’, there wasn’t such a need. Just 1 statement from the main union because there were no contests. No need for constant press engagement.

  7. I will say what you cannot: Some quarters blame the old generation for voting for TT, but I wouldn’t. Looking at the GE results, a circumstantial case might be made for blaming the old. It is obvious that this time, young people voted solidly for the apparent winning horse, TJS, and old people voted for TCB, their generation’s man. Some OTHER group has changed Singapore’s destiny.

  8. It seems to be a common perception that new citizens are uniformly pro-PAP and would have voted for Dr. Tony Tan. However, this is somewhat an over-generalization as my parents and I are new citizens who voted for Dr. Tan Cheng Bock, because we felt that he would be a unifying force for Singapore in the years to come. We did vote PAP in the GE, but that was not because we were rock-solid PAP supporters but more because the opposition party and
    candidates contesting in our GRC were really quite hopeless.

    • Yes, Oliver. I do know of new citizens who voted opposition during GE, or at least they gave me their assurance when I visited them. From my voting analysis, I did not do as well in areas with higher concentration of new citizens. For PE, I believe more new citizens would have been open to voting TCB as he represented a credible and sincere alternative. That shows the appeal of TCB. He could draw from both sides of the divide, an incredible feat given the nature of our politics and ground sentiments. He would have contributed through the softpower of easing this divide.

      I believe in the elections to come, the opposition quality will improve. You will soon have better candidates to choose from.

  9. Brilliant analysis, simpler but yet more accurate than gaybread version

    The biggest winner in the PE is LHL, either he is an extremely brilliant strategist or he has someone close to him that is.

    This PE gave him alot of confirmation on the info he required

    If PAP had ordered George Yeo to run for PE, this national level exercise would not have been in existense.

    (btw the email is not my real email)

  10. 1. I simply cannot accept a Constitution that gags our President and turns our President into a govt echo.

    2. By choosing a candidate on the ballot slip, it would effectively validate the typical PAP shenanigan of crafting unjust laws and then enforcing them seemingly by the book.

    3. You can draw parallels with, say, 3 more laws:

    (a) People’s Association Act and CCC Rules and Regulations – WP’s experience to date speaks volumes and validates my point 2 above.

    (b) Parliamentary Pensions Act – giving Pay + Pension upon age 55 to ministers and political office holders.

    (c) Land Titles (Strata) Act – communalize strata-title private property rights by invoking majoritianism and skewing the law to be pro-sale (hence, anti-owners) despite adverse impact on national retirement scheme due to sanctioned CPF withdrawals for residential property purchases.

    For a law properly passed by Parliament, the Judiciary cannot initiate a judicial review which applies only if the law was IMproperly passed. So for above 3 laws, can the President “influence” the PM in weekly meetings to “do right” by Singaporeans? Will WP ask President Tony Tan?

  11. I have arrived at somewhat the same conclusion as you: arround 1/3 core PAP supporters, 1/3 anti-PAP supporters and 1/3 swing voters. The key for both the PAP and the alternative parties is to influence the swing voters. For this PE, it’s obvious PAP got TT to throw his hat into the ring was to split the anti-PAP votes. Even though TT is now the President, he lacks the legitimacy. At least Ong Teng Cheong received about 54% of the total valid votes. Anyway this result again proves that a significant number of Singaporeans do not like drastic change but they don’t want status quo either. What appeals to them (particularly the swing voters) is incremental changes for the better. I think WP has gotten it and so it’s election strategy worked better than the other alternative parties.

    • I have left the country some time back for the sake of a job and other renaoss, and I believe that this by-election is not necessarily as sure as the PAP assumes it will be. During the PE, the mainstream media declared the incumbent president’s decision and belief that he has won right from the start, maybe to adopt a reverse psychological tactic of priming people to vote for him out of fear or reverence for the status quo. Things have been changing after GE 2011, but considering the basic fact that it is a 4-cornered fight, I don’t even think there will be anything unpredictable, and sadly so. The true battle will be GE 2016. If the same trend in 2011 with a majority vote for the incumbent continues then, we can be sure that by 2021, Singapore will be screwed and might even fall in the end to its own leaders.

  12. Very good analysis JJ! In first past the post systems, it pays to move towards the centre. If Singapore indeed moves towards a multi-party system, I do not expect it to be anything different from more mature multi-party, first past the post systems. There will be core supporters on both ends and elections have to be won on the decisions of swing voters.

    This bloc in the US has narrowed to about 2 to3 %. And like you said, the 2nd choice never wins – which is a situation the Lib Dems in the UK always find themselves in.

    Nothing new under the sun.

  13. Hi jj
    Great analysis. But I’m curious to knw, why did WP nt endorse TCB? There were sme noises online aftr the results were released WP were helping TCB on the quiet so why nt in the open?by staying rather quiet this PE makes me wonder if WP had made open moves to support ard 60per cent of singapore would nt feel so disappointed n let down. Also TT is no ong teng cheong,based on track record n fudging questions during every disucussion/forum in PE. Nw we can only watch in vain

    • WP decided not to endorse any candidate for the presidency due to their opposition to the Elected Presidency in general. Hope this clarifies matters. (:

    • WP decided not to endorse any candidate for the presidency due to their opposition to the Elected Presidency in general. Hope this clarifies matters. (:

  14. Good analysis. There is a underlying driver for how people decide, and simply put its PAP vs Opps. The Presidential election continues to highlight deep divisions within Singapore.

  15. Nice.

    May I share that a friend told me that one of the winners in this election is the WP, because the four candidates all said something about the PA issue, thus helping to publicise the WP’s plight in Aljunied!

  16. Dear Yee Jenn Jong,

    You are my TRUE MP (i live in Joo chiat), and i hope you will do your best to convince those uncles and aunties who voted in Victoria School against u to rethink their vote in 2016. Your analysis makes me proud to have you as my NCMP.

    I am deeply disappointed that a good significant portion of the population do not take their role of voting seriously and responsibly, without thinking for themselves the consequences of their actions for voting in parties / people who do not always improve their livelihoods. With time, i hope that such incidents of such irresponsible citizens will decrease and everyone will vote in a wise and responsible manner. I also wish you the best of health and success against all odds.

  17. If u had published this b4 the election, then u have some merits. Now you r just analyzing the results using common sense deduction. U do not have such a strong influence as u think by posting a blog. That is what a blog is – personal opinion not facts. If u think your friends r influenced by your blog, no wonder you came to this “conclusion” as people cannot think for themselves and r predictable.

    • Hi Betty

      It was a decision I made from the start not to participate in nor influence the outcome by taking sides openly. It is not about how much influence I have. I have said it was a crude estimation based on those who volunteered their voting preferences to me before polling and not a formal statistical exercise. It might be useful for some research agencies to verify the model.

  18. Fantastic prediction and excellent analysis. I saw no contest from the very beginning. TT was as good as becoming the president the moment he stepped into the ring. However, I too did not expect the margin of victory to be that narrow. Some people interpret the narrow margin to be due to TCB and TT both representing the ruling party, but TCB insists that it is due to a split in the ruling party. I believe that many who supported TCB are actually opposition” moderates”.

    • You are right. There isn’t a 70% pro-PAP group to divide 35% between the 2 Dr Tans. TCB drew strong support amongst opposition as well, a credible performance for a long-time PAP MP. PM Lee would like to say it was a dilemma between TCB and TT. Yes, only amongst PAP voters. He had forgotten about the opposition voters.

    • Agree partially with your asmsessent. In my personal chats with friends, those who voted for PAP are not going to vote for TT, and open to voting for the other 3. And those who voted for Opp feel the same way. However, amongst the 3 Tans, most of use feel that TCB has the least financial strength and background. A BIG reasons to select a new president (unlike Nathan) that will not go silent, is to have a glimpse and handle on our reserves. No matter what some people feel, a lot of us feel this is even more impt. Especially pertaining to CPF etc. So that leaves TJS & TKL.

  19. Hi JJ,
    my first time reading your blog and I find your analysis very logical, enlightening. Thanks!

    I’m not politically inclined nor savvy, and did not analyse much for this PE, never thought about what strategies were being used by any party or persons. I purely looked at the candidates as individuals, and based my selection of how they presented themselves and their thoughts.
    I’m a very feeling person, and I found many people on the ground similarly poised. And if these same type people voted accordingly, to their ‘unanalysed’ and ‘unawared’ right brain emotions, we were voting simply for whom we felt as most suitable to represent Singapore on international fronts and mature/wise enough to maintain peace on home ground. TT & TCB seemed 2 good choices. TJS & TKL were simply eliminated naturally, the former not good for peace, the latter not good for ‘face’.

    Maybe that’s why the votes were close, they were split between 2 good choices. If possible, we (the ‘unanalysed and unawared’ type of voters) might like to see them President & Vice-President. In our ideal version of a civilised society, these 2 good men should be able to work together for the best of the country. And what better way to keep check on the govt than to have a co-checker. If that’s what the President has to do also.

    But this nation exist in reality, so ideals remain as naive ideals?

    Thank you again for sharing your analysis, helps for political awakening in simple folks like me. 🙂


    • Thanks Teresa. Perhaps if I may speculate, are you one who normally vote PAP perhaps because they have better candidates than the opposition in where you live? If so, you belong to the middle ground of swing voters who look at candidates more by credentials. So you are part of the PAP voting group that were torn between TCB and TT. And one day, if a very good opposition candidate shows up, you may consider the person. That’s what we call the swing voters.

      • Hi JJ,
        Thanks for your response.

        “Perhaps if I may speculate, are you one who normally vote PAP perhaps because they have better candidates than the opposition in where you live?”
        – in a way, yes, your speculation is quite correct. Though I may not swing so easily, the opposition will not only have to be good, but must be convincingly better and the PAP candidate must have shown to be incompetent. I’m probably the ‘don’t take risk’ type also. I would need to have strong push factor to waver, then I will look for a pull factor in the options to ‘risk’. Kind of conservative ‘don’t rock the boat’ type. If PAP rocks the boat, I will jump ship. If they steer well, I find no reason to ship-hop.

        I’m not die-hard PAP, maybe I’m not so ‘swing’ too.
        Analogy (attempt): I would not quit a job just because there’s a better job that presents itself. I would leave only if this job no longer meets my needs, whether or not there is a better alternative.

        But for grouping sake, yes I could be in the ‘swing’ category.

        And your prediction indicates that there’s about 40% of ‘me’ out there?
        Wonder how this profile would change in 5 / 6 years?

        Anyway, thanks again.

    • It’s a facebook post just past 10pm on polling night, viewable by friends only. 1000+ friends can see it. Anyway, those who did see it can reply your post.

  20. I am very impressed by your analysis. I read from the Straits Times. I hope you can emulate what Dr Tan Cheng Bock had done to draw supporters from both camps in the next GE.

  21. When you make a prediction privately to friends, it’s just casual chatter.
    It means nothing. It’s rather presumptuous of you to believe that your pridic-
    tions will influence 2.8 million Singaporean voters?

  22. Quote: “It’s rather presumptuous of you to believe that your pridic-
    tions will influence 2.8 million Singaporean voters?” – KTK
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 13:31:15

    KTK, maybe I really need to get my eyesight checked but do correct me if I’m wrong as I am unable to track down any word or sentence that JJ made here in this analytical piece or in his original facebook posting that suggests that JJ tried to “influence 2.8 million Singaporean voters” or that he believed he could or did.

    Instead in this piece of PE analysis and in that original facebook posting, JJ mentioned that he only made the forecast as counting got underway. Can you kindly refer me and others who are extremely curious as to where that incriminating line/s come from i.e. the one/s that suggest/s JJ was presumptuous and believed that his prediction influenced 2.8 million Singaporean voters?

    KTK, for your information and for what it is worth, the total number of eligible voters was NOT 2.8 million but 2,274,773 (see

    Yee Jenn Jong original facebook wall posting:
    Now that counting is underway and I am just back from shopping, let me share what I had predicted to close friends:
    TT will take around 60% of PAP votes. TJS will take 60% of Opp votes. TCB takes most of the rest (40% of both PAP and Opp). That unfortunately means TT may win TCB narrowly. TJS will do reasonably well but hard to cross 25%. Winner will have less than 40% overall margin, maybe aroud 36%. Sorry, TKL. You tried
    Like · · Saturday at 10:21pm ·

    ” I posted that prediction on my personal Facebook before counting results came in, at around 10 pm on polling night.”
    Yee Jenn Jong, Analysis of PE2011 Result, August 28,

  23. yeejj

    OK perhaps my comment about you being presumptuous was uncalled for.
    I take it back. But the reason for my comments were that making predictions
    privately is quite different from making predictions publically. The former has no consequences if one is wrong. Perhaps my comments seemed offensive to you. If so, I apologise.

    • No problem KTK. It’s just a personal intent not to post earlier. As a politically active person, I realise that sometimes statements we make may be viewed by people as party’s position.

      There’s a group of “anti-TT” voters who would put their votes with any candidate that can best defeat TT. So by predicting that TCB is the top opponent, some in this group may switch from TJS to TCB. I prefer they form their own conclusions.

      Anyway it is a personal decision not to post views earlier.

  24. I predicted the following outcome of the PE on a comment posted in Yahoo News relating to the article by Liyana Low: Tan Kin Lian shares highs and lows of his campaign

    The timing of the comment Post was on Aug 25 9:01 PM (Thursday), 2 days before PE Polling day.

    My prediction was not as close as those of Mr Yee Jenn Jong.

    Here’s the exact copy of the comment:-

    Comment from Sun Tzu 6users liked this comment
    Thumbs UpThumbs Down9users disliked this comment Sun Tzu 3 days ago

    For PE 2011:

    If only Tony Tan & Tan Cheng Bock, Tan Cheng Bock will win hands down.

    If three way contest: Tony Tan, Tan Cheng Bock & Tan Kin Kian, Tan Cheng Bock will also win the PE, but at a lesser margin.

    Now with appearance of Tan Jee Say, these two candidates will pull 26-33% of the total votes from Tan Cheng Bock. Tan Jee Say should be getting 20-25%, while Tan Kin Lian should be getting 6-8%.

    There will be a spoil vote of 2-4%.

    Now, the battle is really between Tony Tan and Tan Cheng Bock. Whoever exceeds 35% of the votes will win.

    Tan Cheng Bock is the one that should be unhappy with the introduction of Tan Jee Say.

    Tan Kin Lian will never win in this PE, with or without the introduction of Tan Jee Say.

    But with the introduction of Tan Jee Say, Tan Kin Lian will loose his deposit. Maybe that’s why Tan Kin Lian is unhappy.

  25. KTK, I do not think it was JJ’s intention to have his prediction to have a bearing on the outcome of the PE. If that was his motive at all, JJ would have openly published his forecast hours or days in advance of Polling Day and not wait till 10:21PM on Saturday, 27 August i.e. Polling Day night, when counting was already underway for 2 hours. Sorry but I do not see how your expressed views can be justified. KTK?

  26. Good analysis. I too thought that TT would win given the pattern of voting in the GE (60-40) and it would be unlikely for TJS to gain more than 25% since he was aligned with SDP. I felt that TCB would be able to get votes from both PAP & Opp camps – especially the moderates. I thought that TKL would get about 5-10%. I didn’t expect the margin to be that small!

    Anyway, Singapore should look at Preferential Voting. This would allow voters to choose their 1st to 4th choices and then re-allocate the losers votes based on a preferential system (ie. After one round, the worse performer will be eliminated and the votes redistributed based on 2nd choice. 2 x 2nd Choice = 1 vote….and so on. Until the finally, the last 2 will be decided based on the most number of votes (1st, 2nd & 3rd choices). At least, the winner will be the most preferred candidate rather than just a 35% majority.

  27. Well written article. I have the same sentiment about the ranks based on the sentiments on the ground and among my friends, but you came out with a logical explanation about the votes.(even before election!) I am sure there are more to come in the days. Good jobs! I hope the Parliament would approve the Alternative Vote to represent the voice of the people better.

  28. teresa’s comments about voting are highly interesting. one point stands out – the alternative party’s candidate must be convincingly good and the PAP fellow must be incompetent, then she will vote alternative party. it indicates that people like teresa will put up with mediocre, and even weak (C-), candidates from the PAP. on the other hand, those from other parties must be A++, supermen. A and B++ is not good enuff, though these are far higher grades than C-.

    taking this to its logical conclusion, parliament could be made up of a collection of wishy washy people and tt would be ok, if they were PAP. indeed, there are quite a few of that sort in the house right now.

    as for incompetence, how does one judge this? would a party tt claims to think long-term, but did nothing about boosting transport, housing, hospitals, so it could accomodate the hundred-thousands of pple it was bringing in, be considered competent? would a party who seems to work on just one 40-yr-old economic model – only boosting GDP matters – be considered competent?

    is a party that is busy undoing years of work building up social cohesiveness – by bringing in humongous numbers of foreigners in a very short space of time – really competent? does it really have singapore’s interests in mind? is a party that not just ignores, but is totally unaware, of the social impact of its policies competent?

    is a party that believes all one’s political eggs should be placed in one political basket sensible? can a party that sees other parties as divisive, simply becos those other parties have other ideas about reaching a destination, be considered pragmatic? and what does one say about a party that believes that other parties are anti-singapore, simply because they think differently from it? why are the other parties seen as antagonists? why does it not occur that all have the best interests of singapore in mind and should try and work together? why does it not occur to the PAP that locals would know singapore and asian markets far better than foreigners when it comes to leading companies?

    personally i find it hard to swallow that a man who closed his eyes to the extreme favouritism given his sons doing NS because he was a minister then, would have the integrity to deal with matters of state. why would such a man speak up for others who are being treated unfairly? as is, i find it deplorable that the very rich feel it is fine to accept scholarships when they can well afford education for their children. if they want the prestige, by all means accept the scholarship, but why not give the money tt comes with it to some academically deserving but financially poor fellow?

    oddly, this same candidate, who preached about sticking to the constitution, has announced that as president he will advise on investing the reserves. this is not part of the presidential duties written in the constitution. if he wants to dabble in investing billions badly, he should have continued in his old job.

  29. Hi JJ

    You have hit the limelight with this prediction and your subsequent explanation. Congrats. Its well written. I enjoyed reading it.

    I would like to add something to it. To begin with, I would describe myself as someone falling into the same category as Teresa and am a resident of Aljunied. Enough said.

    One of my biggest concerns, as a member of the middle ground, is the growing number of people who vote for the opposition for the sake of opposition. We cannot afford such mistakes in Singapore as what we have built can come crumbling down in one single term. This puts the burden on the opposition to find credible candidates who can stand up and be counted as reliable, committed and trustworthy. This is not easy.

    What concerns me is that when we have a really solid candidate like TCB holding the middle ground, a not insignificant number still chose TJS. These voters were spoiling for a fight. They could not see beyond

    (a) the fact that TJS (and his SDP team) sought TCB’s advice during the GE elections

    (b) the fact that TJS was a member of TKL’s presidential election committee before he pulled out

    (c) the fact that TJS was the last person to declare himself as a candidate and would have known that he would be splitting the opposition votes.

    For me, TJS’s decision to run was a reflection of poor moral and ethical values. It is a reflection of someone who was in pursuit of personal glory and not necessarily the interest of Singaporeans at large.

    The idea ‘think Singaporeans first’ must resonate with everyone. But we are in danger of imploding if we only regard this as a ‘foreign’ talent issue. It is bigger than that. The idea ‘think Singaporeans first’ must mean stop all acts / policies that give preference to the interest of any one political party ahead of the interest of Singaporeans. Simply stated, it means on national day, everyone wears red and white.

    My vision of an ideal elected President is somoene who knows how to draw the line between political interest and Singapore’s interest.

    Thank you JJ for this opportunity to share on your blog. Keep it up!

    • Thanks Little Red Dot. I guessed being a bystander with privileged access to many who would just want to tell me their voting pattern helped me form the conclusions.

      The number of very angry voters depends on how many feel alienated and are struggling with life. There are serious current issues that have made many very angry.

      Singaporeans as a whole are still a thinking lot. They know how to discern when a good opposition candidate is presented to them. And with the first-past-the-post system, you will need a very good opposition candidate to beat the PAP candidate. It is still an uphill fight for the opposition. We saw it from GE2011. A lot of angry voices on the ground but only 8% of seats went to opposition.

      To be fair to TJS, he did position himself well and his career record did help make it a dilemma for some opposition supporters. Some still consider TCB to be a MIW after such a long time there. No matter how he convince people of his independence, he still lost some votes there and TJS fitted nicely collect those votes.

      In keeping with my model, I guess you voted TCB.

  30. Hi Jax,

    Thank you for taking an interest in my humble personal sharing in response to JJ. I really didn’t think anything I wrote was meant to bring about any ridicule or dissatisfaction. But I feel you have misread, misunderstood and misrepresented my views. To say that I will ‘put up with mediocre’ but won’t accept ‘A++’ is mistaken. But then this is a free space, so to each his own, with space enough for mutual respect and acceptance.

    Personally I have never thought of grading anyone, A, B or C. Your A and my A could be worlds apart, depedent on the denominators we use for grading, which are dependent on the values we hold, the experience we have and so on, which could be very different.

    As mentioned, I do not vote, and thus view, with intellectual or statistical analyses. I feel with my gut and discern with a deeper sense of inner peace – maybe this comes more naturally for women. I trust my right brain. No one should, in my opinion, judge this approach as right or wrong, good or bad. It is individual. It is personal.

    I also do not judge competence in the way you have explored, but I shall not further explain as this was not the intention of my sharing in the first place. Let us agree to disagree. 🙂

    Thank you again.

    • Hi Teresa and Jax

      I have spoke to many like Teresa and that has been the opposition challenge. We need to be better than our political opponents to be elected. We need to walk the ground harder and be even better qualified or do things a lot more impressive to have any chance of winning.

      That’s the advantage incumbents have over the challengers. It is the nature of the game and we just tell ourselves to up our game if we want to win. We don’t blame people for thinking like that. It’s the fear of the unknown. If things work, don’t fix it… even if it doesn’t work so ideally. So we try harder. By having better quality alternative voices, PAP now have to up their game. Singapore wins.

  31. Hi JJ,

    If I am voting in Malaysia, I will vote opposition with eyes closed.

    You are right that challengers have to work harder, but I don’t think it is to fix anything that doesn’t work. We cannot expect a perfect society. We cannot want a perfect system. We will frustrate ourselves. If I may advise, not that I’m in any position to, but just from the heart and not the head, work on the people, with the people, for the people. Ideally, that’s what a minister should be and do (in my non-political opinion). Don’t work the system, don’t be a handyfix.

    Yes, PAP will have to up their game to stay in the game.
    If they want to stay in the lead of the game, they may have to change the game.

    Singapore wins, if we do not divide. We are too small and fragile and young to fight within. If we have to fight, let’s fight as brothers. The family must stick.

    Thanks for your response.

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  33. Hi Mr Yee, this is interesting, I came up with almost the same figures as you have!

    Hello, I am Miq, and I am focusing on the GE and PE elections for my thesis. Below, I have included a cut-and-paste of a facebook note I posted on my wall to ask my friends for their comments. Could I be in correspondance with you as I am very interested in your survey results and would like to examine them further. I think your findings will give greater weight to my hypothesis and help me greatly with my Honours Thesis.

    On Wednesday, I came across this article:

    “There is “strong support” for the ruling People’s Action Party based on the results of the recent presidential election, said Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim.
    Speaking to reporters after Hari Raya prayers on Tuesday morning at the Assyafaah Mosque, Dr Yaacob, also the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, did not think there was a political divide among Singaporeans despite Dr Tony Tan beating Dr Tan Cheng Bock by 0.34 per cent, garnering 35.19 per cent of the total votes.
    According to Today, Dr Yaacob noted that even though voters had to choose between two “very good” candidates, both of them — formerly from the PAP — had a combined vote share of 70 per cent.” (By Liyana Low | SingaporeScene – Wed, Aug 31, 2011)

    I thought about the above comment for a while, and I felt something was not right. Could this be a gross simplification of the situation? The ‘razor thin’ margin was interesting by itself, but something else caught my eye. And no, I was not talking about the allusion towards partisanship of the Presidential candidates.

    Allow me to explain:

    I place the 4 presidential candidates on a spectrum, with Dr Tony Tan at the far left, appealing to the pro-PAP supporters because of his history and affiliation with the party. Tan Jee Say would occupy the far right, appealing to the pro-opposition supporters, who would not want to vote for Dr Tony Tan because they see as a PAP stooge. Dr Tan Cheng Bock would take the middle ground, appealing to the more moderate people from both camps, and Tan Kin Lian would be somewhere in the middle as well, picking up a smaller portion of the ‘middle camp’ votes.

    I posit that the GE and PE results are co-related, and that the PAP is losing it’s mandate, and ergo, GE2011 is a watershed.

    In the GE, PAP won 60.1% of all votes cast:
    If we first arbitrarily assign Dr Tony Tan to take around 60% of the PAP votes, 60% of that 60% (60% x 60%) would result in 36% votes for Dr Tony Tan in the PE.
    If Tan Jee Say, being on the opposite end of the spectrum were to (similarly) have the 60% of the opposition votes, we get 60% x 40% = 24%
    Following my initial hypothesis, if Dr Tan Cheng Bock appealed to the moderates (middle camps), he should take a majority share of whatever votes are left. So if we assign 35% of the PAP votes and 35% of the opposition votes to him, we get (35% x 60%) + (35% x 40%) = 21% + 14% = 35%
    After everything, we are left with 5% of the PAP votes and 5% of the opposition votes. This means Tan Kin Lian would get (5% x 60%) + (5% x 40%) = 3% + 2% = 5%

    Now, we know the official results to be 35.19% (35.2% if including overseas votes) for Dr Tony Tan, 34.85% for Dr Tan Cheng Bock, 25.04% for Tan Jee Say, and 4.91% for Tan Kin Lian.

    I hypothesize that the Dr Tony Tan supporters are the ‘hard-core’ PAP supporters, the people who voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Kin Lian could be seen as the ‘fear voters’ who do not agree completely with the PAP’s actions and agenda but voted for them anyway in the GE. Also, since Tan Jee Say was a candidate with the SDP, I find it plausible that no PAP supporter would have voted for him.

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