Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo’s approval rating remains high as a majority of Indonesians agree that he defends Islam, according to a new survey by Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia.
The survey was conducted from Sep. 17-24 in 34 provinces across the archipelago and showed that 68 percent of 1,220 respondents claimed that they were satisfied with Jokowi’s leadership.
The study also revealed that many citizens think of Jokowi as a leader who actively defends Islam, contrary to many hard-line Islamist groups in the country who have tried to portray the president as hostile to clerics and anti-Islamic.
"Around 67 percent of respondents claimed that [Jokowi] defends Islam, meanwhile, only 6 percent of them claimed that he is anti-Islam," said Burhanuddin Muhtadi, the executive director of Indikator.
Burhanuddin said the survey showed that a majority of respondents do not believe that Jokowi is hostile to Islam or its clerics in the country.
"This means that this percentage is very low in contrast to the spreading public judgments on social media," Burhanuddin said, referring to the percentage of citizens who believe Jokowi is hostile to Islam.
He added that the survey findings reinforce other survey result findings pointing to Jokowi's vast support at another run for presidency in 2019.
Jakarta-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and poll firm Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) show in recent reports a high public satisfaction rate with Jokowi's administration since taking office in 2014.
"If the public thinks Jokowi is hostile to ulemas or is anti-Islam, Jokowi's political support will consequently be very low," Burhanuddin explained.
Moreover, the survey also showed that 64 percent of respondents did not think that the president is actively protecting the now-disbanded Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
"In fact, 52 percent of respondents thought the PKI issue was only exhaled and exaggerated by particular groups in a bid to attack the Jokowi administration," Burhanuddin added.