Just a few quick thoughts to ponder on as GE2004 approaches in 13 days time.
1. Protest votes won't win this election
A fair number of urban votes will go against BN this year around, but i reckon most of them will be what i call "protest votes" -- votes in protest/dissent due to disagreements with current BN policies. This won't be enough to win. To contrast, a majority of the votes in Kelantan and Terengganu will be votes "for" the Opposition and that's why they will do well there.
If opposition is ever going to win a general election in this country, they will need to transform "protest" votes into "for" votes.
2. Elections are rarely won on single-issue battles
And GE2004 will be no different. In my mind, the Opposition has used the last 4 years to whip BN on the Islamic state issue. But that's the whole problem with them: they ONLY have that one issue in their favour. To win a general elections, or to even make greater inroads than before, Opposition is going to have to do much, much more: tell the people what they intend to do about healthcare, economics (macro & micro), unemployment, welfare, taxes, etc, etc, etc.
Constant pounding on the Islamic state issue will allow them some success, but it won't be enough. Voters care about the Hereafter, but they also want to know what you're going to do for them in the Here and Now.
3. Opposition while young, BN when older
This is an interesting observation i've made. During my uni days, i noticed many, many people supporting the Opposition. The moment they graduate, start work and get exposed to the "real-world" they suddenly switch their allegiances. Many of my once-PAS supporting friends are now all staunch BN.
I wonder why is that?