Today, Singaporeans got very excited when they realized that Friday 11 September was going to be a public holiday and yet another long weekend. Although they were less happy when they realized that they really cannot leave during this long weekend, because 11 September is Polling Day. Then everyone got very excited again, because ELECTIONS LAI LIAO! Rallies, everybody! Such larks! (Can you tell that election season makes me inappropriately excited?)
Excitement aside though, GE2015 is quite a different creature from GE2011 in terms of national mood and voter needs. GE2011 was marked by a distinct undercurrent of anger, but there’s less of that now — keep in mind, though that anger and discontent can exist separately. Much has been made of certain factors, like positive emotional runoff from the SG50 celebrations and how that will affect vote percentages. I think that’s an overly simplistic assumption to make, and I don’t think Singaporean voters are that easily swayed by emotions.
Much has also been made — or not, if you’re an academic — of social media and its effect on vote outcomes. As with the SG50 sentiment theory, this grossly underestimates the rationality of voters. Most people are not going to make their voting decision because social media changed their mind. However, the percentages don’t lie, and it is clear that party platform branding does affect percentages. Branding on social media, such as Instagram posts, is not likely to sway swing voters who have already decided because of a marked disparity in the credibility of the candidate and/or party platform. However, it may be an entirely different story in constituencies where two parties contesting have relatively similar levels of positive branding and outreach on social media — depending on the demographics and social media use of the constituents, of course. Once again, only the percentages will tell.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go eat some beef noodles to shore my strength for all the GE2015 excitement in the weeks to come.
NSP: No, Wait, Actually, We Are Contesting MacPherson SMC
You know, this whole situation feels like when you’re stuck in the popcorn queue at the cinema and the person in front you takes 5 minutes to decide whether they want their popcorn sweet or salty, then takes another fifteen minutes to call ten friends and ask for their orders. At some point, you don’t even care about your popcorn any more, you just want the idiot in front of you to make up their damn mind already. Guys, it’s not that difficult to make up your mind and stick to it — especially when it’s about an election instead of popcorn.