A poll in July of more than 1,000 registered voters in the peninsula showed that 45 per cent of Malays remained dissatisfied with Umno, while 44 per cent were satisfied.
Among Chinese voters surveyed, only 12 per cent said they were satisfied with Umno.
Fifty-five per cent of Chinese voters surveyed were dissatisfied with Umno.
Contrasted with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's high 72 per cent approval rating from a separate poll in May, the results of the July survey showed that Malaysians are still largely unhappy with his party.
In the May survey, Najib enjoyed the highest approval among Indians, of whom 80 per cent expressed satisfaction, followed by Malays at 77 per cent and Chinese at 58 per cent.
But the latest Merdeka Center poll showed an increasingly divided country when it came to voters' perception of the Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin party.
While Malays remained almost equally split in how they felt about Umno, Chinese dissatisfaction was palpable.
Although 55 per cent of Chinese voters surveyed said they were satisfied, a synopsis of the poll revealed that 34 per cent declined to answer the question of whether they were satisfied with Umno, possibly due to fear.
Therefore the distrust of Chinese is much higher than the 55 per cent would suggest.
According to the survey, most Chinese also equate Perkasa with Umno.
The Malay rights group led by maverick politician Datuk Ibrahim Ali has fashioned itself into a significant lobby group, demanding the government retain quotas as a right of Bumiputeras while issuing increasingly strident views on race relations.
The emergence of Perkasa as a right wing group has appealed to the conservative front in Umno, and Najib's reluctance to curb Perkasa has seen the group's influence grow.
Yesterday Ibrahim issued an ultimatum to Najib to explain his 1 Malaysia slogan, and pointed out Perkasa's contention that it is not about equality.
But besides Perkasa, Umno also has its work cut out in winning over the trust of a majority of Malay voters.
The main reasons cited by Malays for their dissatisfaction with Umno are that its politicians only care about self interest and are not interested in needy Malays (15 per cent); its politicians are busy playing politics (13 per cent); and corruption and abuse of power (12 per cent).
For the Chinese, the main reasons for their dissatisfaction are that Umno is unfair to non-Malays (24 per cent) and that it is too dominant, aggressive and racist (23 per cent).
The Merdeka Center findings would suggest that if Najib calls for early elections as expected, he will have to project himself and not the party or coalition he leads.
Read more at http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/still-a-way-to-go-for-umno-poll-shows/