Srettha Vows To Work Harder As Poll Shows Popularity Decline

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has vowed to work harder to improve the government’s performance after a recent opinion poll indicated a decline in his popularity and that of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, falling behind their main political rivals.

According to the quarterly poll by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida), Mr. Srettha’s and Pheu Thai’s popularity has continued to decline, while support for Pita Limjaroenrat and the Move Forward Party (MFP) has increased.

This trend persists despite the government’s efforts to revive the economy.

The poll results, released on Sunday, showed that only 12.85% of voters supported the prime minister, down from 17.75% in the previous survey.

Pheu Thai Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the youngest daughter of former prime minister Thaksin, also saw her popularity drop from 6% to 4.85%.

Supporters of Mr. Srettha praised him as a decisive leader committed to addressing their issues, while Ms. Paetongtarn was lauded for her vision, leadership, knowledge, and understanding of the country’s problems.

During an official visit to Surin in the Northeast on Sunday, Mr. Srettha stated that he will continue to listen to the concerns of Thai citizens. This visit marked his second trip to the region within a week.

He has reduced his overseas trips following public criticism, though he maintained that some trips were essential to attract foreign investors to Thailand.

On Sunday, he told reporters that the poll results were a reminder to work harder. “The poll reflects what people think about our work. We must work harder and try to find out what the people really want and provide what they need while also solving their problems,” he said.

He added that he and his cabinet will continue touring the country to listen to people’s concerns until the end of his four-year term.

When asked if he would adjust his strategy to regain public trust, Mr. Srettha said, “We constantly adjust our strategy, whether there is a poll or not. The opinion survey is part of the feedback for the government.”

He noted that some key government policies had not yet been implemented because the budget for the current fiscal year was only approved about two months ago.

The 3.48 trillion-baht budget for the 2024 fiscal year, which began on October 1, was only approved in April due to a prolonged government formation process following the last election.

“I don’t want to use the budget as an excuse every time … [but] we have to admit that it affected the government’s performance. We need some time [to improve],” he said.

In the recent Nida poll, MFP chief adviser Pita continued to lead all other prime ministerial candidates with a 45.5% approval rating, slightly up from 42.75% in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, leader of the United Thai Nation Party, nearly doubled his popularity from 3.55% to 6.85%.

Respondents praised Mr. Pita for his political ideology and broad knowledge, while they endorsed Mr. Pirapan for his credibility, integrity, and clean reputation.