Stable Community Sentiment But Economic Pressures Persist
As Singapore stands at a crossroads of economic challenges and evolving aspirations, we are proud to launch SensingSG, a unique community insights and sentiment platform developed by Blackbox and Qualtrics. Our inaugural set of findings – published on 18 October 2023 and informed by data collected from 15-25 September 2023 – reveals that while the general mood in Singapore is confident, many Singaporeans are still feeling the full weight of economic pressures.
General Community Sentiment
Nearly four in five Singaporeans (79%) feel that Singapore is heading in the right direction. Moreover, 73% view current national economic conditions positively, ranging from quite good to excellent, and two-thirds (66%) believe their personal financial situation falls within the same favourable range.
However, beneath these optimistic statistics, there are underlying concerns to consider. For instance, only 45% express satisfaction with how things are going in Singapore at present (“quite satisfied” or “extremely satisfied”), compared to 22% dissatisfied and 33% neutral. More tellingly, a mere 32% feel they are financially better off today compared to a year ago, with 32% experiencing a decline and 34% reporting no significant change.
In sum, the data highlights considerable segmentation within the population, with some experiencing gains, others falling behind, and many feeling stagnant.
The Future Outlook
Optimism about the future is tempered as Singapore contends with economic uncertainties linked to a patchy global economy and volatile trading conditions.
Only 36% of Singaporeans anticipate an improvement in national economic conditions over the next 12 months, while 37% anticipate further deterioration (23% foresee stability). In a slightly better outlook, 40% express confidence that they and their families will fare better financially in the coming year, compared to 26% who anticipate a decline (31% expect no change).
Overall, less than half of Singaporeans perceive a bright economic outlook in the immediate future, highlighting the growing patchwork of the Singapore economy.
What Matters Most to Singaporeans Today
Despite recent attention on the Presidential election, ministerial issues, political scandals, and money laundering, it is rice bowl issues that continue to dominate discussions within the community.
The top five issues of utmost importance to Singaporeans today are cost of living, salaries and wages, housing affordability, jobs, and GST.
The cost of living is by far the most pressing issue, with inflation still hovering at around 4%. Shoppers are still feeling sticker shock when they shop with supermarket prices no closer to stabilizing.
Housing affordability also remains a contentious topic, especially among those aged 30-39 – the demographic most likely to be seeking their first property. It remains to be seen if the new classification framework for property buyers, announced at this year’s National Day Rally, helps to ease the pressures currently being felt in the local real estate market.
What Does Our Good Governance Meter Show?
The Blackbox-Qualtrics Good Governance Meter (GGM) evaluates the perception of government efforts across 25 national and community issues within the public policy spectrum, encompassing all dimensions of government activity that affect Singaporean households.
Presently, the Good Governance Meter stands at 63 out of a possible 100, factoring in how Singaporeans rate government performance in each area, from excellent to poor.
Currently, the top three and bottom three areas on the GGM are as follows:
Other areas where Singaporeans perceive the government as underperforming, i.e. scoring below 50, include salaries and wages, and housing affordability. Notably, these issues also rank among the top concerns of Singaporeans today.
Despite recent controversies surrounding government ministers, perceptions towards government accountability remain positive, with a score of 70% on the GGM. This reflects the fact that, despite media coverage of these issues, economic topics such as the cost of living remain the primary focus of Singaporeans for now.
Overall, our latest data reflects a picture of public sentiment where economic challenges emerge very clearly as the key focus among a generally stable environment.
– Perspective from Blackbox Research, Oct 2023
SensingSG is an innovative data platform that provides a unique window into real-time community insights and sentiments in Singapore. Through the platform, we engage Singaporeans on a quarterly basis, tracking and updating the responses to create meaningful ongoing measures of what matters to Singaporeans across a range of core issues impacting the community.
View SensingSG here to find out what matters to Singapore.
Author: Blackbox Research Team