Hougang’s political demography
In the last election, WP won 65% of popular votes in Hougang leaving PAP’s Desmond Choo with only 35%. This may look innocuous enough but on careful scrutinizing, it is actually a very tight situation for the PAP.
The general distribution of voters between the PAP and opposition is normally a 30% hard core supporters for each side and leaving the balance 40% as the fence sitters or swing votes. Applying this general pattern, PAP was only able to win 5% of the 40% swing votes. In this scenario the optimists in PAP camp would think there is room for improvement, to move the 5% a few notches up.
On the other hand, the WP can at most win the 5% from PAP and stripping PAP to the skin of its teeth. This will be the worst case scenario this weekend for the PAP. Anything less is unthinkable and will send a signal that it is all over for the PAP.
Another probable distribution in the case of Hougang, which is an unusual constituency, is that WP has a hardcore support of 45% against a PAP’s 35%, leaving a balance of 20% swing votes. If this is the case, in the last election PAP was only able to hold on to its hard core supporters and WP had a clean sweep of the swing voters. All the lose votes went to WP. This means that PAP was not making any headway with the fence sitters at all.
And the outcome of this by election could see PAP at 35% again or winning some of the swing votes from the WP. It would need to win 15% of the 20% fence sitters to have a chance of winning Hougang. Hougang is likely to be retained as WP needs only 6% from the swing voters to retain the seat. For WP to take anything less than 5% from the swing voters is likely to be remote.
My assessment is that WP should retain the seat of Hougang but will find it very difficult to better the result of the GE as that would mean eating into the hard core supporters of the PAP camp. Desmond is likely to keep his 35% with a +/- 3% either way.