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Opinion polls show Jokowi leading in Indonesia's presidential race

Latest opinion polls out of Indonesia show the pair of Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla leading the presidential race with 35 per cent of support, as compared to Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa's 22 per cent.

JAKARTA: Latest opinion polls out of Indonesia show the pair of Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla leading the presidential race with 35 per cent of support, as compared to Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa's 22 per cent.

Undecided voter numbers remain high at 40 per cent, and surveys show that most people are not familiar with the candidates' platforms, simply making their choice based on personality.

Channel NewsAsia looks beyond the candidates' personalities and examine their policies, in what appears to be a very tight race.

Joko Widodo rose from being a furniture salesman, to Mayor of Solo, to governor of the nation's capital.

Now he's gunning for Indonesia's top job.

And through it all, Jokowi -- as he's popularly known -- has been seen as a reformist with a clean reputation.

Djayadi Hanan, Political Science Lecturer at the Paramadina University, said: "According to the many surveys, people think that Jokowi has three strong characteristics. Number one is trustworthiness, the ability to be sympathetic to the people's lives and the third one - he is somebody who is considered as the person who has the leadership capacity."

But Prabowo appears to have thrown the race wide open.

He has narrowed Jokowi's lead in opinion polls and garnered considerable political backing.

Djayadi said: "Prabowo is the one who, according to the people, is somebody who has the strong capabilities or strong characteristics in terms of decisiveness, which is understandable considering his background in the military."

The two men's personalities couldn't be more different, but when it comes to policies - they share many similarities.

Tobias Basuki, Political Analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said: "Both parties are usually perceived as parties that espouse people's economy -- 'kerakyatan'.

"In a lot of aspects, they are very similar. They are talking about national sovereignty, national independence, national resilience. On economic issues, they are talking about food security, energy, security and how it is implemented, the numbers slightly differ."

Both men want to do away with costly fuel subsidies, but advocate different ways to lessen the burden on the economy.

Jokowi aims to cut the subsidies and raise fuel prices slowly over the next four to five years.

Prabowo says he will keep fuel prices at current rates but impose measures to ensure subsidies are only used by the poor and lower-middle class.

As a businessman, Prabowo appears to be more focused on the economy, aiming to bring investment and further development to Indonesia.

Jokowi has also promised to fight graft and establish a clean government, combat religious intolerance and investigate past rights violations -- something that may concern Prabowo, who has been accused of human rights violations during his time in the military.

The stage is set for the presidential race.

And as both sides gear up for the month-long campaign, they will not just have to convince voters of their policies, which on the macro level look similar, they will also have to gain the trust of the over 185 million voters. 

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