Jakarta's governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, nicknamed "Ahok", leaves a meeting at the Attorney General's office with regards to a blasphemy case in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Reuters, Iqro Rinaldi

Jakarta’s gubernatorial election on Wednesday is shaping up to be a barometer of the country’s growing religious and ethnic polarization, the Australian Financial Review writes Monday.

Incumbent Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, has fallen into second place in polling for the second round of voting, despite recent surveys showing he enjoys a 66% satisfaction rate for his performance in office.

A member of Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese community and a Christian, Ahok is facing public backlash after he made controversial comments in reference to the Koran. His comments were in response to efforts by Islamic activists to delegitimize his candidacy on religious grounds.

In a sign that Ahok’s impressive reputation as governor will not be enough, polls show religion is the main factor in the election for 21.6% of voters. Only 16.3% of respondent said that they will focus on the candidates’ record of achievement.