- Pheu Thai is preferred by 47% respondents in Nida survey
- Thaksin’s daughter sees her popularity drop as PM candidate
Thailand’s main opposition party remains the top choice of voters ahead of a general election next month, with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha and his party falling further behind in their bid to retain power, according to an opinion poll.
Pheu Thai, linked to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, was backed by 47% of the participants in the April 3-7 survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, known as Nida. That’s down from 49.8% in March, indicating a tightening race as parties ramp up electioneering ahead of voting on May 14.
The popularity of the progressive Move Forward Party jumped to about 22% from 17% in the March poll. Prayuth’s conservative United Thai Nation Party came in third with 11% support, down from 12%, and the incumbent premier was the third most-preferred candidate to lead the country. Prayuth was the favored PM candidate of 13.6% of survey respondents, behind the 35.7% for Pheu Thai’s Paetongtarn Shinawatra and 20.3% for Move Forward’s Pita Limcharoenrat.
Top Thai Opposition Party Retains Lead in Latest Survey
The election is shaping up to be a battle between the pro-establishment groups of the ruling military-backed coalition and a pro-democracy camp of opposition parties. The major parties are all promising a similar package of cash handouts, higher minimum wages and the suspension of debt repayments to woo about 52 million voters.
More than 60 parties have registered their candidates for the election to the 500-seat House of Representatives, where 400 members will be elected using the first-past-the-post method and the remaining will be picked through a proportional representation system.
In another survey by Thai language newspapers Matichon and Daily News, Pita, a former executive director of ride-hailing firm Grab Holdings Ltd.’s Thailand office emerged as the most-preferred prime minister candidate. He garnered the support of 29.4% of respondents in the April 8-14 nationwide online poll of about 84,000 voters.
Pheu Thai’s Paetongtarn came in second at 23.2% and Srettha Thavisin, another of the party’s premier candidates, was third, with support of 16.7%. Paetongtarn-led Pheu Thai, which has emerged as the single largest party in parliament in every election in the past two decades, was backed by 38.9% of respondents, with Pita’s Move Forward coming second at 32.3%.
Prayuth came in fourth in the Matichon-Daily News survey with an approval rating of 13.7%, and his United Thai Nation Party placed third with support of 12.8% of the respondents.