Is Mahinda’s Popularity Waning?

Mahinda As A Young Man

A young Mahinda, poster down south, 2009.

I was reading this Guardian (yes, not the Telegraph) report on some Sri Lanka UN report and there was this at the bottom: “the popularity that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who took power in 2005, won among the Sinhalese majority after the victory over the Tamil Tigers has faded”. Well, really? I mean, it’s possible, perhaps even likely, but are there any polls or other evidence of this decline?

I mean, it’s a bit of a leap to say:

Rocketing food prices and poor economic management have sapped the president’s popular support in rural areas, a key constituency. (Guardian)

Again, possible, but they should really show some evidence or cite someone. Mahinda won with 58% of the vote in the 2010 Presidential and his party won 60% in the 2010 Parliamentary. The SLFP also won 51% in this September’s Provincial vote, in mostly rural but not southern areas (North Central, Sabaragamuwa, Eastern). Everywhere besides the Eastern Province they were polling the usual 60%.

Now, it’s possible that there’s some other evidence or polls, but that would be a news story in itself. The Guardian is throwing it in there at the bottom, but I still don’t think there’s anything to back them up.

As crappy as the economic management is, the economy is still better than during the war. As crappy as the SLFP is, they’re still way better than the opposition. In fact, the only place the UNP is holding is urban Colombo, so I really don’t see Mahinda’s rural support dropping that much. Indeed, if Divineguma goes through there’ll be whole new tendrils of direct patronage running through the provinces, if he can just get rid of that pesky Supreme Court judge.

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2012-11-14 12:22:11

@indica I don’t think he has jumped the shark yet.

2012-11-14 12:28:29

The President polled between 64% and 68% of Sinhala votes in the Presidential election of 2010. The support for the UPFA in PC polls in 2012 however, had dropped to around 58% – 61% in Sinhala electorates. For the opposition to have a realistic chance of winning the Presidential election, they’d have to limit the President to about 55% – 57% of the Sinhala vote, and turn out the minorities in decent enough numbers.

2012-11-14 12:31:44

The President polled between 64% and 67% of Sinhala votes in the Presidential election of 2010. The support for the UPFA in PC polls in 2012 however, had dropped to around 58% – 61% in Sinhala electorates. For the opposition to have a realistic chance of winning the Presidential election, they’d have to shave off a few percentage points from what the UPFA is polling in PC elections, and turn out the minorities in decent enough numbers. Difficult, but not impossible.

2012-11-14 13:40:22

The author is Jason Burke and the news source is the Guardian. Nothing more needs to be said really. Take what they report with not a pinch but a sackful of salt.

2012-11-14 16:14:29

Well, if MR thinks it is waning he will call a snap presidential election, then we will know.

2012-11-14 16:56:49

Well, anecdotal evidence are what they are. Though you can’t give them same weight you’d give to a peered reviewed scientific paper, or real statistics, in the absence of them they are all you’ve got.

Burke is probably right. But right now we have no way of knowing.

2012-11-14 17:36:13

Ranil’s popularity is waning much faster than Mahinda’s. That’s the problem.

Gun Gun
2012-11-14 18:21:23

In theory it should wane but unfortunately, majority of Sri Lankans are not that smart.

2012-11-15 01:36:47

I think you should email the Guardian, asking for evidence backing up the claims. They pride themselves on being a responsible news outlet.

Sagara Nanayakkara
2012-11-15 08:03:57

It does not matter that they are (Sri Lankans) smart or idiots, that is democracy. People overwhelmingly rejected Ranil’s leadership for 18 years now. How can a dictator repel a dictator and then establish democracy? Who believes in this bullshit? Ranil, get ready to be there for another 18 years!

Former UNP voter
2012-11-21 17:04:56

I don’t like Mahinda either. But, WHO is the alternative??? Ranil??? no thanks.

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