Political calculations heading into Singapore’s upcoming polls have been disrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak. Will a ‘flight to safety” among jittery voters give the PAP a major boost? Or will the ruling party be punished for holding the election during a pandemic? Get up to speed with our quick recap of key trends behind the last seven elections.

Image for post
Image for post
A voting booth in Bedok during the 2015 General Election. Photo: Chua Chin Hon

1. VOTE SHARE

“Vote share” is arguably the most popular electoral metric used to assess the the PAP’s performances at the polls. It is defined as the total number of votes won nationwide divided by the number of valid votes cast (which in turn means the total votes cast minus the number of invalid/rejected votes).

Image for post
Image for post

2. TOTAL VOTE TALLY

The overall vote tally is infrequently mentioned in media reports on the elections, but they provide another interesting layer of insights on how the parties have fared over the last seven elections.

Image for post
Image for post

3. ISSUES

In a series of six televised speeches in June, top Singapore leaders from the ruling PAP outlined their plans for taking the country forward amid global uncertainties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. These speeches will likely form the heart of the ruling party’s electoral pitch in GE 2020.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

4. HOT SEATS

On their own, Opposition parties in Singapore contest only a select number of seats during each election. This means the best way to find out which are the most competitive seats is to see where the ruling PAP did poorest over successive elections:

Image for post
Image for post
Wards highlighted in red have been rezoned for GE 2020.

4.1 HOT SEAT ALJUNIED

The WP clung on to Aljunied GRC with a margin of just 2,626 votes in GE2015. All eyes are on whether this razor-thin buffer will hold or cave in a big way amid changing voter sentiment brought about by Covid-19 and the long-running court case over the WP’s financial stewardship of the ward.

Image for post
Image for post

4.2 HOT SEAT HOUGANG

Hougang, a veritable WP stronghold since Mr Low Thia Khiang won the Single Member Constituency in 1991, has overtaken Potong Pasir as the longest-held Opposition ward in post-Independence Singapore. Mr Low, who is popular with Hougang residents, left the ward in 2011 to contest the Aljunied GRC. In April 2018, he formally stepped down as the WP chief.

Image for post
Image for post

4.3 HOT SEAT POTONG PASIR

Potong Pasir flipped back to PAP-control in GE 2011 by a wafer-thin margin of 114 votes. That gap widened to 5,234 votes in favour of the PAP in GE 2015.

Image for post
Image for post

5. CONCLUSION

Given the lack of competitive politics in Singapore, analysts tend to anticipate changes in the domestic landscape through the lens of global trends. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, for instance, some have suggested that Singapore politics could be buffeted by the sort of populist wave that brought Donald Trump and Boris Johnson to power.

6. DATA

Data for this post were compiled from press releases and official results on the Elections Department’s website, and cross-checked with media reports and online archives. Our summary of the results for GE1988 — GE 2015 can be found here:

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Written by

Data Science | Media | Politics

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store