IPS survey reveals issues voters cared more about and what influenced their votes for GE2015

How we feel about a party seems to matter more than the policies they put forth.

Jonathan Lim| November 04, 03:54 PM

The Institute of Policy Studies, on Nov 4, released its survey findings for one of three post-GE2015 studies — Explaining the GE2015 Outcomes: Insights from Perceptions of Governance Survey.

The survey collected data online from some 3,000 voting-age Singapore citizens in three waves: Aug 14 to Sep 1 (pre-GE2015), Sep 2 to Sep 10 (during GE campaigning), and Sep 11 to Sep 17 (polling day and a week after).


One of the more interesting findings were the issues influencing how Singaporeans voted:

IPS survey 1

IPS survey 2

From the two screenshots from the survey findings, it showed that Singaporeans were influenced most by cost-of-living issues and the least by our perennial need to increase our birth rates.

Another interesting nugget of information from this survey is the score (ranging from 1 [strongly disagree] to 9 [strongly agree]) Singaporeans gave for the country's government:

IPS survey 3

The results show that Singaporeans are not giving the Government 7s, 8s, or 9s for governance in Singapore. Does this mean anything in context of Singaporeans returning the PAP to government with nearly 70 per cent of the vote? Or does this reflect something on the Opposition?


Now we know Singaporeans cared about bread and butter issues when going to the polls and that they did not give the Government a stellar nor scathing report card on governance. The next is to figure out what they looked for in a political party. And here are the findings:

IPS survey 4

So it would seem that confidence in the party and reputation of the party were more important factors to a voter than the arguments or issues presented during campaigning as well as parties' manifestos.

This is food for thought not only for the political parties, but Singaporeans as a whole. Are we okay with making decisions based more on how we feel about a party, rather than thinking through the policies they put forth?

Also the survey found that Singaporeans are moving towards wanting greater political diversity:

IPS survey 6

The GE2015 results would then disappoint Singaporeans who want political diversity in Parliament.

While we can easily say that the Opposition must have screwed up somewhere to do badly at the polls despite voters wanting more diversity, the more important point from this finding is that the incumbent People's Action Party has their work cut out for them.

They have to deliver results to an electorate which wants political diversity, gave a neutral score for the Government's governance and are constantly thinking about cost-of-living issues and are not too keen with helping boost birth rates.

Last but not least, give these two researchers a cookie for their hard work conducting the study:

IPS survey 5

All screen shots taken from IPS' study on Explaining the GE2015 Outcomes

Top photo by Edwin Koo.

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