Connect with us


Election surprises: The unpredictable swing of Singapore’s opposition votes

Singapore’s recent Presidential Election results shocked many, with Tharman Shanmugaratnam securing a whopping 70% of the votes.

The significant deviation from historical patterns and Tan Kin Lian’s unexpected 13.88% – despite high-profile endorsements – demonstrates the unpredictable nature of the opposition swing.

The inclusion of Ng Kok Song, a non-partisan figure, in the fray seemed to further divide the opposition vote.

While Presidential Elections differ fundamentally from General Elections, the outcome suggests that opposition voters’ preferences are far more fluid than previously assumed.



by Gilbert Goh

Singapore woke up to the expected news that Tharman will be the next President for six years, though many wondered how he received such a scintillating result of 70.4%.

Tan Kin Lian (TKL) – the noted opposition favourite – received 13.88% of the votes, enough for him to take back his deposit of $40,500.

Ng Kok Song (NKS), the newly introduced non-partisan candidate, shockingly received a vote count higher than TKL at 15.72%.

A second deposit loss would not only crush TKL but many opposition supporters who vouched to vote for him.

Many predicted a Tharman win but not in such gigantic proportion as that would mean a swing vote of almost 20% away from the opposition to the PAP-sanctioned candidate.

Opposition voters usually figure around 30% historically in most general elections, with the PAP side estimating to hover around 40%.

If it’s a Workers Party-endorsed candidate*, opposition supporters would probably swing their votes around him in the 40s-percentile numbers.

There are another 30% swing voters who vote according to the choice of candidates and other feasible factors such as precinct, current economic environment and personal reasons.

A 70% majority win for Tharman meant that the opposition swing votes would figure close to 20% or almost 500,000 voters.

NKS also took away much of the opposition votes meant for TKL as he represents a neutral figure who spoke well in most publicised events.

It’s safe to say that without NKS, TKL may receive another 10% more of the opposition votes.

However, the General Election is different from the Presidential Election as the day is from the night, and there is nothing of real significance attached to choosing a President who is primarily ceremonial.

Finally, I believe the high vote count for Tharman meant many opposition supporters swung their votes towards him or even NKS, leaving TKL with only 13.88% – quite a shockingly low percentage given the high-profiled personal endorsement by Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Jee Say.

We estimated that TKL would receive at least 30% of the majority votes, but it was not meant to be.

It goes to show that opposition voters are also elastic and will swing according to the candidate profile and other tangible factors, especially in PE.

For the record, I voted for TKL.

This post was first published on Gilbert Goh’s Instagram post and reproduced with permission.

*Workers Party has stated clearly that it does not endorse Presidential candidates and supports an appointed ceremonial presidency.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hopefully your lives are better come 2024, 9% gst.

If you still have bread and butter issues, remember to run to the world stage guy .

Aiyah, you all don’t know meh …

Making 7 figure salaries telling you they make big sacrifices…Can Trust or can believe?

tsk tsk tsk

Every elections , stop claiming that the voters overwhelmingly support the ruling party or pro establishment candidates. It’s because the voters, a large population are uninformed and do not read a alternative media. When someone overwhelming support another , it means they are well informed. In this case no.

@3 terms $27million.

Totally agree with you.The heart is painful.Aunties ,uncles working till death while minister enjoy high salary and some still broke the rules, incapable but still stay on! Those who posts here are not loosers , without jobs,too free!We are citizens who can’t stand INJUSTICE!

a lot of ranting there … people complaining about Singaporeans being sheeps … WP not endorsing TKL and so on … well, SG is a small country and does not need a president … or at least it does not need a president with no meaningful power that gets an annual salary of 1.5 millions (coming from taxpayers money to remind you) some of you viewed TKL as the opposition candidate but he sure wasn’t endorsed by anybody in WP instances for good reasons. Only the useless oppies (those that have never achieved anything … and never will) did endorse… Read more »

Some contributer here said opposition must have clear objectives and explain how to do it.Agree very much.Example boost birthrate by more incentives!PAP 101% will ask where the money from? Opposition answer them by saying we need to know the amount of reserve and how much government funds we have before actions,you can’t just implement,must be thorough because is Nations’ money.The avenues all standard(taxes,erp,gst,singaporepools,levies).At this moment,all we hope for ,get rid and punish errant minister(Ridout),harping on ho Ching’s salary!Hope ISWARAN Spill the beans,remove incapable minister(covid-hindsight).One or two at a time!And hope the younger generation who are more well informed, analytical,gutsy, will… Read more »

There is no such thing as loyalty!!!

Oppies, pappies same lah. Which side got more benefits, these stooges will switch camp lah.

Next we have to wait for Iswaran case. So far no news. Must be quite lengthy to review? tsk tsk tsk

Many reasons why TKL votes are low..

I can only think of is probably opposition parties stand firm to honor they are not politically motivated? so this round let the pappies win lah.

Next round won’t be so easy for pappies… What do you think? tsk tsk tsk

Early in the morning, or maybe midnight, declard TS is the next President.
On the same day early in the morning when daylight, he was going islandwide to thank his supporters.
Many places already have stages, performances and events to welcome him, from Jurong to Toa Payoh to Tampines.
TS sure knows he is the winner right from beginning…lol.

Elections are over.

Time to hang your Japanese lady photo. Also remember to recite your Singapore Pleddge : We the citizens of Singapore Pledge ourselves as One united people (or many united people? ) ….. LoL

Given the mentality of singaporeans including opposition supporters like WP voters, THERE IS REALLY NO NEES FOR ELeCTIONS in spore. Almost 90% for PAP endorsed candidates combined. But even if all opposition voted TKL, TM still wins especially adding the vote splitting Kok appealing to opposition. So, the missed opportunity is sending a clearer signal which WP failed to realise. Its never about TKL. We all don’t like him and we all know he won’t win. But WP logic is because we don’t like TKL and we know TM will win big, we give him a bigger win. Lost opportunity.… Read more »

Well done PLP’ers !!!

Eat Fish if Chicken Is expensive

2024 (9% GST) : Eat Pineapples if Fish is expensive?


i guess the fake “opposition” who used to vote for Doc Bock during the previous prez erections were just pappy suck ups after all?

or issit because the hardcore oppo all spoiled their votes?

I feel that NKS is something similar in appeal as WP.
So maybe some of the 16% came from WP voters who dislike the other parties harder stance.

What is CLEAR : 1. Opposition has no chance if field candidate with little chance based on the taste buds of sporeans. Lim Tean is better off as lawyer for opposition leaders and not spearhead a party. Dr Chee also. He spoke up and votes still went to NKS or TM. They are better off as behind the scenes content providers. I do support them but Pragmatism overrides Idealism. Looks like WP has been in this direction. But they also will not be govt in our lifetimes. WP is good for people with gift of the gab like Harpreet to… Read more »

If WP had placed Protest votes as priority over their dislike of TKL , a bigger signal would have been sent despite losing. The NKS role also proved to the leader that he can continue to use such model for future GE. Can have someone who says what opposition likes to hear but have no track record. But have a cleaner image than TKL. But to be fair, TKL could not have been so badly destroyed without a concerted effort by a organised machinery. In short, I feel that singaporeans in general do not think like Opposition leaders whose main… Read more »

Unpredictable? hahahaha…..

I hope so for the next elections . Perhaps white turn to multiple colors. tsk tsk tsk

Stooooopid media outlets trying to advocate anything so long as can achieve their immature objectives. Why were there so many post about NKS being establishment? You mean cannot work as a public servant? How did you then look at NTUC? Not related to government and TKL was not PAP? Think again that he was part of the PAP grassroot previously. Same goes to TCB, he threw tantrums after he didn’t get invite to istana events (serious childish) and decided to do whatever it takes to damage the government together with PM Lee’s younger brother. Agenda is simple – destroy the… Read more »

A looser endorsed by another loosers party . Oppies are really silly. Awesome victory for Pap and Tharman. Oppie please slap ur self twice please and shout out saying oppies are loosers

Stop blaming the majority 70%, really looks stupid to the extreme. You know how people see when a very small minority accusing the big majority to be stupid, like sheep or something animalistic, how it reflects on your stupidly. We are definitely not the smartest of all, else we won’t be here spending our lives away. The smartest one are in the 70% camp, and they are the well off and elite. Want to understand why the electorate voted in this pattern, go understand them, what the majority thinks. They will give you reason you will never expect, not merely… Read more »

What rubbish….before voting all claimed NKS as part of “establishment” then now said non-partisan? During the previous PE where there were 4 Tan candidates, so much efforts were used to bring down TKL and now trying to white wash and say that he is like a Saint? Stop uttering rubbish. Sorry can’t brain wash anyone lol

Gilbert, this vote swing signifies nothing but people don’t vote blindly. You should be glad we still have these discerning and logical people in the opposition population. It is not elastic or fickle but people vote with an open eyes. When we got a weak candidate we will garner a low percentage vote. This is a simple common sense knowledge.

Dear Gilbert Goh ! We met before about a decade ago. Haha. Anyways I saw the many civilian clad people you preempted me will appear if people speak to you. It was a scary experience. I just like to share my views why TKL lost. Take a look at Yah Lah But interview and you can see clearly why TKL killed his vote share by his own behavior. I voted TKL though. Simply for disapproval of Reserves Secrecy despite his own flaws. To his credit, he did adjusted his facial and eye expression at the later stage but the self… Read more »

Let’s accept the result and acknowledge TS as our new president. We got to move on with life. How many 6 more years we have. Be gracious and accept the truth. TS is the people’s choice in the democratic election, we are just a small minority, merely one tenth of the population. Tkl is our wrong choice, as he would never win no matter how much support and time he gets. Let’s be truthful to ourselves.

Technically, he can be a 3-term president given the highest popularity which deters anyone from contesting. Someone gave his opinion. 12 to 18years keeping reserves secret. By then, absolutely impossible to audit it.

And white can have a long runway without this fear of being checked.

By 18 years times. Some of us already passed away.

Really hopeless case.

I perceive that NKS was given many articles and videos especially on cooling off day

But how can WP voters be so UNIFORM? I voted WP last GE but that was because it was against PAP. This PE I voted non pap as well. So, I don’t think we will ever know the truth as with all elections. We can only perceive based on our observations and thinking. I really do not believe those who voted WP voters are always WP voters, like myself. If I have to vote pap vs psp, I would voted psp, not wp. Anyways, most of us have a few more elections we can vote before we finish our walk… Read more »

People have rejected a local born true blue Singaporean presidential spouse. What do you think? tsk tsk tsk

Congratulations to Tharman. Anyone want to take bets that his will be at least a TWO term presidency like S R Nathan? I couldn’t believe that NKS (a complete unknown for most Singaporeans) got more votes than TKL(a SECOND time presidential candidate) though. There couldn’t possibly be THAT many people who simply chopped or crossed out the first box on the ballot paper right? I would rate the outcome of this presidential election as a level 3 WTF. 1 because voting for Tharman (admittedly the most qualified candidate) would be seen as ENDORSING the PAP and their policies. Does 70%… Read more »

We can only say the 2 old men wasted all Singaporeans’ time to go queue to vote.
Siasway. Both of them combined only can get 30% vote, not even 1/3 of total vote counts.
That kosong even gave up easily straight after the sampling vote count. This type who give up easily, luckily is not becoming the president.

World recognised and standing! Frankly speaking,Xi Jin ping,Biden,Sunak don’t even give us a second look!Even Anwar may not even place Singapore as important.Malaysia can just built a port and undercut our PSA.So please stop saying we are so capable and choose world partner by choice!Is people who chooses us.

Ya I also find it very patronizing when he said learn from Halimah.As a minister for 22years,he met more world leaders than Halimah.If he was referring to learning how to behave and talk appropriately and cooperate and work well with the government,he had already passed long time ago.He didn’t do anything about Ridout!So now If I’m not wrong,CPIB reports to him.Lets see what he do?

Learn from Halimah?Learn what?And don’t overestimate.World standing,, knowledge in economics.If so impressive,we will not be afraid of manipulation of our reserve!I seldom hear people who have world standing,good in economics, psychologist,inventors, scientists saying good things about themselves!When Lee sheng wu was presented the prestigious economics award,I don’t remember him praising himself.Theres always a higher mountain!70%,please read more alternative news and please don’t be sugarcoated.

No more KPKB please !!!

You 70% endorses :
1) 9% GST increases
2) High food cost
3) High Cost of Living
4) $1000 salary can afford HDB Flats.

Every 10 handphone numbers in my Handphone, I remove 7 of them. These 7 are the pappies stooges. tsk tsk tsk

Lets Move on…….

The 70% who voted for Tharman means they approve tharman as Senior minister who holds a certain amount of power failed to persuade the PM to punish Ridout minister !Did he mentioned the ministers code of conduct?and stressed that 3
1 & 3.2 are breached? How long more our CPIB who I trust VERY MUCH going to update the public ?

I’m Chinese and I’m appalled when CNA reported that the Chinese in Singapore will continue to do well under Tharman.What has Chinese got to do with this?We are Singaporeans!Tharman said he will seek ADVICE from Halimah!Wow!Very humble.

Just because TS received a resounding victory, we now hear cries of despair and even suggestions that Sengkang will go back to the PAP next GE. Let’s admit TS was a formidable candidate and TKL was out of his depth and was never going to win the EP. For the record, I voted TKL. What was also surprising was that he (TKL) ended up third. We backed the wrong horse but he was our horse. However, we must salute him for stepping forward and be willing to face the public once again. Let’s let him retire and live a peaceful… Read more »

No swing vote lah, is tkl effect. You folks got a lousy candidate who virtually made himself a hated figure by continously making controversial comments, shooting himself on his foot and scoring own goal. In many eyes he is not votable and electable , would rather spoil vote than to vote him. Totally not fit to be president. Check around, a lot of people hope he loses his deposit again and eat humble pie. Opposition got themselves to blame by supporting someone of controversial character.

Since 60 years ago its been like this bro. New to sg?

This was not a democratic election as Tharman knew he qualified but not the other two candidates. The ELD under the PMO’S office is also a Conflict of Interests. The ELD chose to limit the time for campaigning to about a week. This did not give NKS and TKL enough time to prepare posters and campaign materials. Tharman’s face was on almost every lamp posts throughout the island conditioning the voters minds. NKS tried to mount an online campaign but it is not the online voters that required to be enticed , it is the campaign on the ground which… Read more »

I only drink oxygenated water. I voted for TKL.

What unpredictable swing?
Oppo are losers as always ,so what is surprising?
I can even tell this coming 2024/25 election PeeApee would get more than 61% likely over 68 to 75% of the votes and re-capturing SengKang.
And when that appears as it is then, the oppo again SAY UNPREDICTABLE SWING!…again!!
Quoting all sorts of grand father, grand mother reasons for this except admitting they are always LOSERS in their lives!
Tio bo?😆😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣🤣

Despite disappointment for opposition supporters,must try not to give up,keep digging in to get rid of as many faulty and incapable PAP MPs.. Keep bugging and keep saying and reminding about Ridout case,Iswaran investigation, ho Ching’s suspected salary.At least get rid of 1 or 2 at a time.We just can’t stand the fact they are earning good salary and at the same time not abiding to rules and regulations! Although is difficult but Rome is not built in 1day,even malaysian got the guts to get rid of Najib.We can be disheartened but don’t give up.One step at a time,maybe in… Read more »

TS has won by a landslide majority. Alas the role of the President is not going to make Singaporeans lives any better. The establishment, MSM, CNA analysts all did their best to remind TKL that the President’s role and power does not allow him to make changes to policies. This, especially when TKL tried his best to impress by often citing his plans to improves the people live with his engagement with the government. No prize to guess the establishment, MSM, CNA Analysts all want to do their best to thumb TKL down. Singaporeans had always said they are ready… Read more »

Like someone in the past mentioned before will take another 50 years and different voter demographic (e.g. new citizens ) to bring about a change. 50 years from now the voters will not be the same as the ones now like merdeka pioneers will all be gone then. Even millennials will not be around

What is Amazing is how the 100 random votes per box matches the final result. Unbelievable but no one really think there is any issue. I think less people will wanna go into politics unless via pap route. There is basically no chance for change since day 1. Amazing singapore.

Tharman was expected to win. There is no doubt about it. But winning such a big margin, it is a bit of a surprise. So, what does this tell you? First and forth most, there is no racism. So will the race reserved president be scraped?! Also, will GRC be revoked? Next, people still believe the PAP. So will PAP be bolder? More FTAs and CECAs? Increase in COL and every other payment and fee?⁰ Tharman mentioned several times about Ong TC. Will he be another OTC or Halimah? He only mentioned independent in mind, so let’s see what it… Read more »

Agree on the wealth of singaporeans that make them really not interested in change.
Also, there is no real solid Idealistic opposition base. WP has a eternal market as Opposition and PS can happily remain opposition leader till he retires. He just need to continue his style.
I go further to say, it may not be farfetched that if election is Abolished the 87% (70.x+16.x) would not protest also. It will just be a new norm for them to easily accept.

I see no need to discuss politics from now on. Peace


With Tharman and TKL, it’s a race between a Ferrari and a bicycle on a track full of potholes and humps. Only the Ferrari participant has unimpeded access to the track at all times. The bicycle participant can only enter the track just before the race.