Split-ticket voting is the phenomenon that is born due to the many kinds of elections, including legislative and executive elections. Not only in Indonesia, the split-ticket voting phenomenon can also be found in other countries. In the U.S. and Europe, split-ticket voting studies have long been in place, hence a number of dominan theories; while in Indonesia, such phenomenon emerged after the direct presidential elections in 2004.
“For the legislative elections, the elected political party was Golkar, while the presidential elections produced the candidate from Democrat political party. Here, voters split votes for various political parties in a several types of election. This often happened after the New Order era,” said Muhammad Qodari at Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) on Thursday (14/1) during his open doctoral examination.
Defending a dissertation entitled Split-Ticket Voting and Factors That Explain It During Legislative and Presidential Elections 2004, Muh Qodari said there were five dominant theories being used to explain the split-ticket voting: balance theory, conflict hope theory, issue owner theory, chek and balance theory, and marketing theory. All see the split as part of the strategy to meet a certain goal.
“(The goals are) For example, ideology moderation to satisfy random voters, to have different voting mechanism, to create government control and to meet campaign message expectations,” said Qodari accompanied by his promoter, Prof. Dr. Ichlasul Amal, M.A, and co-promoter, Dr. Kuskridho Ambardi.
As such, it came as no surprise that in the legislative elections in 2004 that were won by Golkar (21.6 %), followed by PDIP (18,5%), a Democrat candidate was instead sent to presidency which only came fifth with 7.5% of votes. One of the reasons of the failure of Golkar and PDIP candidates was split voting taken by their voters.
“The split-ticket voting phenomenon is terrifying for big political parties while giving hopes for smaller ones. What emerged was a split government as they were controlled by different parties. Legislative bodies have the same fact, making law drafting and other regulations very difficult to do,” said the Executive Director of Indo Barometer NGO.
Muh Qodari further explained that despite different motivations, what unites all thories are that voters are considered as well-informed with enough capacity, doing split-voting based on certain intention. In different context or voters context, election system, and history and practices of different parties, according to Qodari, the split-ticket voting theory is seen as irrelevant to developing countries such as Indonesia.
As a researcher, Muh Qodari formulated the explanation for the split-ticket voting that is suitable for Indonesia is the low information model. Because based on survey and analysis, the dominant model used in the U.S. and Europe cannot explain the split-ticket voting phenomenon in Indonesia.
“The low information model currently suffices to explain the behaviours of split-ticket voting in Indonesia during the elections 2014,” Qodari concluded in the event that was also attended by some national prominent figures.