KORAT (The Nation/Asia News Network): The youngest daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra emerged as the most popular choice as a candidate for prime minister - by far - among voters in the bellwether province of Korat, a survey found.
Paetongtarn Shinawatra (pic) left Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in the dust, the survey by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) found.
The survey was carried out from Jan 30 to Feb 3 among 1,500 eligible voters in the northeastern province, which is formally known as Nakhon Ratchasima.
Korat, with 16 constituencies, has the second highest number of MPs after Bangkok, which has 33. More importantly, voters in Korat generally indicate how other voters in the Northeast will vote.
The party that wins the Northeast usually wins the election because the region is the most populous and has more constituencies than any other region.
Paetongtarn leads the Pheu Thai’s Family Project and is the party’s tentative candidate for prime minister.
She was selected by 37.80% of respondents in the survey, more than three times the number of any other candidate.
Pita was selected by only 12.40% of respondents. Prayut, the likely prime ministerial candidate for the United Thai Nation Party, fared worse. He was selected by only 11.73% of those surveyed.
The Nida poll found that 9.27% of respondents were undecided. Six other candidates received less than 7% of the vote each:
- 6.60%: Pol Gen Seri Temeeyaves, leader of Seri Ruam Thai Party
- 5.67%: Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, leader of the Thai Sang Thai Party
- 3.47%: Anutin Charnvirakul, Bhumjaithai Party leader and Public Health Minister
- 2.67%: Korn Chatikavanij, leader of the Chart Pattanakla Party
- 2.40%: Tewan Liptapanlop, Chart Pattanakla secretary-general
- 2.33%: Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew.
Surveys by Nida last year found that Paetongtarn was the most popular choice for premier nationwide. Most regional surveys also put her on top. However, Prayut was more popular than her in a survey of voters in the South, while Pita was the top choice in a survey of Bangkok voters.
When asked which party they would vote for in constituency-based elections, voters surveyed in Korat replied:
- 48.40%: Pheu Thai
- 13.80%: Move Forward
- 8.53%: United Thai Nation
- 7.07%: Undecided
- 4.73%: Chart Pattanakla
- 4.13%: Bhumjaithai
- 3.20%: Seri Ruam Thai
- 2.93%: Thai Sang Thai
- 2.47%: Democrat
- 2.27%: Palang Pracharath
Pheu Thai also topped Korat voters’ choice for party-list voting. The top 10 choices for the party-list vote were:
- 47.60%: Pheu Thai
- 14:00%: Move Forward
- 8.67%: United Thai Nation
- 8.14%: Still undecided
- 4.14%: Chart Pattanakla
- 3.73%: Bhumjaithai
- 3.33%: Seri Ruam Thai
- 2.93%: Thai Sang Thai
- 2.73%: Democrat
- 2.33%: Palang Pracharath