What Issues Matter to Local Voters, and Why?: Electoral Politics in Ranau, Sabah
This research was an attempt to gauge the electorates‘ opinion on key electoral issues in Ranau, Sabah. It involved 712 respondents from the state constituencies of Kundasang, Paginatan and Karanaan. A survey questionnaire based on a five-point Likert scale was distributed to the respondents. The respondents were asked on electoral issues ranging from primordial sentiments, personality politics, patronage politics, regional sentiments, development, economy and governance. The research theoretical framework is based on the sociological, psychological, and economic models of voting behaviour. The research found that race and religious considerations have less influence on the people’s voting decisions and are unlikely to feature prominently in the upcoming elections. However, electoral issues based on regional sentiments related to Sabah’s state of affairs remain very popular among the respondents. The politics of personality formed on the basis of patrimonial, cultural and patronage ties is also evident, suggesting that the role of the candidate is more important than the role of the party in influencing people’s voting decisions. The ruling government is viewed less favourably on the issue of governance and economy, indicating that local and national issues are equally important in shaping Ranau’s, and Sabah’s political landscape.
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