Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has enjoyed a 64.6 percent approval rating in March, thanks to improving economic conditions and the Covid-19 handling pandemic, a recent survey from Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting, or SMRC, showed on Wednesday.
"Most of the public are still satisfied with President Jokowi's performance as president in the last survey," Deni Irvani, SMRC's research director, said.
Still, the rating has fallen by 7.1 percentage points from 71.7 percent in December as concerns about rising staples prices undermine people's support. The poll also marked Jokowi's lowest approval rating as measured by SMRC in the last two years.
The pollster arrived at that result after asking 1,027 Indonesians above the minimum voting age of 17 years from March 13 to 20. SMRC said the survey result had a margin of error of 3.12 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. That means the pollster was 95 percent sure that Jokowi's actual approval rating was somewhere between 61.5 percent and 67.7 percent.
Deni said Jokowi's approval rating moved in tandem with people's perception of the economic, political, security, and law enforcement situation.
About 54.5 percent of respondents in the SMRC survey said they were satisfied with the central government's economic recovery policies in the Covid-19 pandemic. The number fell from 60.1 percent in December.
In particular, people have been concerned about rising staple prices in the past few weeks. More than 41 percent said they were not satisfied with the government's policies in making basic needs more affordable. That was the highest disapproval rating among other economic, political, education, and security policies asked in the survey.
That was also the highest disapproval rating about the price policies in the past three years, SMRC wrote in its survey report.
In the past month alone, cooking oil prices has risen by more than 40 percent, data from the trade ministry showed. People are standing in line for buying cooking oil at the government capped price – about half of the market price – that comes in increasingly scarce supply.
Other staples like soybean, sugar, eggs, and chicken have also risen by at least 2.8 percent in the four weeks ahead of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which usually drives up demand for the commodities.
A group of small business owners even visited the State Palace on Wednesday to air their concerns about rising prices. "We asked the Presidential Staff Office to check out the prices of basic needs," Sujanti, one of the business owners, said.
"Before the fasting month, everything goes up, especially cooking oil," she said.