Tuesday, 31 July, 2012 | 15:00 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Candidates in the race for Jakarta Governor hired pollsters and political consultants to secure an election win. Some made do with economical packages.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo suddenly stopped his speech when a nail attached to one of his banners came off. Someone from his organizing committee promptly got on a chair and attempted to fix the problem, but failed to refasten the banner. Shortly after, all the nails holding the banner together popped out. The banner came down.
To his audiences, comprising of trainee cadres of the country’s largest Islamic organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Fauzi Bowo said: “What do I always say? If the situation is like this, leave it to the experts,” prompting roars of laughter from the young cadres. Everyone understood the joke of the election contender – Fauzi’s famous 2007 election slogan had been: “Leave it to the Expert.”
Not long after, other organizing committee members arrived and the banner was quickly reinstalled. The member of the NU Advisory Council once again commented: “You see, the experts can work and solve problems faster.” Rounds of applause from the audiences were heard. Invited to speak about leadership at the NU Headquarters on Jalan Kramat Raya in Central Jakarta, Fauzi looked relaxed and cheerful. Before saying goodbye to his audiences, he asked the host to “remain his partner” in leading Jakarta. This is apparently the new way Fauzi Bowo is approaching the people of Jakarta ahead of the second round of gubernatorial elections. His “new” approach comes on the heels of his defeat to candidate Jokowi Widodo in the first round of elections on July 11. A man famed for his moustache, defensive nature and arrogant quips, Fauzi no longer looked rigid late last week, or arrogant. He also seemed to be holding back from speaking in a high tone of voice.
Fauzi’s campaign team have quickly recuperated from the July 11 defeat and have apparently set up new strategies to avoid failing once again in the second round of elections. In the first round, Jokowi had secured 42 percent of the votes, compared to Fauzi’s 33 percent, according to results of a survey conducted by the Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting firm. This was the firm hired by Fauzi. The firm had conducted its last survey for Fauzi 14 days before election day. “The results had shown 45 percent for Fauzi Bowo and 28 percent for Jokowi,” Saiful said. “The rest had not made up their minds.”
Saiful said that the huge “discrepancy” was the result of the poll taker's failure to record rapidly changing dynamics in the week ahead of voting day. The campaign team of Fauzi Bowo-Nachrowi Ramli was also deemed less persistent during that crucial week - compared to the opponent, Jokowi.
It seemed, after evaluations were conducted following that defeat, Fauzi and Nachrowi's team overhauled their campaign strategies. They called for a remapping of the distribution of voters and supporters, and an evaluation of strengths and weaknesses. Finally the team came up with a recommendation for Fauzi to change his image, as he was seen as being short-fused and arrogant. “Fauzi Bowo actually is expressive and spontaneous,” said Irfan Asya'ari Sudirman alias Ipang Wahid, Executive Director of Fastcomm, a media consultant hired by Fauzi's team.
Besides hiring a media consultant, the team of Fauzi Bowo also extended the contract with Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting firm as well as the Indonesian Ballot Network. The two institutions were tasked to remap the support base and to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent. Several new teams were also formed to help polish the incumbent governor's image.
Two speech experts were brought in to train Fauzi and Nachrowi on their debating skills. A neuro-linguistic programming expert was also added to the team. “This team trains on giving speeches and regulating voice tones, given Fauzi's high tone of voice,” Ipang elaborated. There is also another team that works on social media – a factor considered the weakest area of Fauzi's camp. The following tactics mentioned above give a snapshot portrayal of the workings of survey institutions, political and image consultants in grooming their candidates to win.
On the other hand, according to Boy Sadikin, head of the Jokowi-Basuki Tjahaja Purnama's campaign team, their poll taker helped map the support base whereas the political consultant analyzed strengths and weakness of the opponent as well as recommended on winning strategies.
The political consultancy entrusted with the task of securing Joko Widodo a win was none other than PolMark Indonesia, which is headed by Eep Saefulloh Fatah. Meanwhile, their polling was taken care of by Cyrus Surveyor Group. According to its Executive Director, Andrinof A. Chaniago, Cyrus had done two surveys in April and May and handed over the results to the campaign team without announcing them to the public. “The team only refunded us for questionnaires and field research,” Andrinof clarified. “We gave the service free of charge.”
Fees are often a major consideration for candidates in hiring survey institutions. Andrinof however believes that the biggest money was actually spent not on survey institutions, but political consultancies. “Survey is still important because it helps candidates map out their positions in the public eye,” he said.
Widiarsi Agustina, Kartika Chandra, Irmawati, Isma Savitri, Anggrita Desyani