Background of the Study
The Indonesian economy, society, and politics have been undergoing a number of crucial developments that may shape the country's future trajectory in important ways. The economy, although still crippled by sluggish global economic expansion, has proven to be resilient to the slump in commodity prices, and the current administration has ambitious plans to expand infrastructure and promote a more open and investment-friendly economic environment.
In the social and cultural realm, Indonesia is facing seemingly contradictory developments. On the one hand, there is a resurgence of anti-liberal sentiments, ranging from a growth of conservative Islam in some social sectors to increased animosity towards immigrants and ethno-religious minorities. On the other hand, civil society organizations are becoming more assertive, and they play a more influential role in shaping policy direction.
In politics, the process of democratic consolidation continues without substantial setbacks, despite unfortunate continuities with the past such as pervasive corruption and the dominance of political parties with close ties to oligarchic elites that have long entrenched themselves in Indonesian politics. At the same time, how the political sphere unfolds under the administration of President Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi), a non-military man who was not part of the Jakarta elite, will be a test of the post-Reformasi (Reform Movement) institutions developed after the fall of Suharto.
Against the backdrop of these important developments at a critical juncture of Indonesia's political history, the Indonesia Studies Programme (ISP) at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute commissioned a nationwide survey, called the Indonesia National Survey Project (INSP). This project aims to enhance our understanding of economic, social, and political developments in Indonesia by surveying public opinion on a wide range of issues, including the economy, the state, politics, infrastructure, Islam, ethnicity, and international relations. The data were collected from a large sample of 1,620 respondents in all 34 provinces in Indonesia to ensure countrywide representation of opinions and attitudes. The local research partner that administered the survey was Lembaga Survei Indonesia (LSI, Indonesian Survey Institute), which fielded the interviews between 20 and 30 May 2017. Conducted in the wake of the Jakarta gubernatorial election, where certain religious and ethnic fault-lines were accentuated, the findings of this survey provide important and useful data for understanding recent cleavages in Indonesian politics and society.