PNP wipeout could have been worse

PNP wipeout could have been worse

Thursday, October 01, 2020

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BASED on the findings of his post-election survey, veteran pollster Bill Johnson has asserted that, had all the people who indicated that they were enumerated actually voted on September 3, the devastating 49- 14-seat defeat suffered by the People's National Party (PNP) would have been worse.

“All other things being equal, if those who were enumerated and had a party preference had voted, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) would have won the election by 26 points — 62 per cent to 36 per cent. That would have amounted to 54 seats,” said Johnson, whose August poll commissioned by the Jamaica Observer had shown the JLP going into the election with a 14-point advantage.

“Even the best swimmers drown when a tsunami hits,” he added.

The pollster's calculation of the JLP's victory margin was one of what he described as five major take-aways from the election.

The other four were: 1. Women were far more likely than men to vote, and the propensity to vote increased with age; those 65 and older were almost 3 times more likely to vote than those 18 to 24.

2. The JLP was significantly stronger than the PNP among women, those under 45 and those with a full-time job. The PNP was stronger with those 45 and older and the self-employed.

3. JLP supporters voted for the party because of the person who would be prime minister and the party that would govern; PNP supporters voted for the party.

4. Although small in numbers, twice as many PNP supporters as JLP supporters decided whom they would vote for on election day itself.

However, almost equal numbers from both parties had made up their mind at least six months before election day. Johnson made the comments in his wrap-up commentary on the post-election poll. He said it was impractical to conduct election day exit polls in Jamaica for a variety of reasons.

“As a substitute for an exit poll the Observer conducted a 'post-mortem' poll a little more than a week after the election in order to determine who voted and who didn't vote and why, and what the results would have been if the turnout had been greater,” Johnson explained.

Voter turnout for the September 3 election was the lowest ever — 37 per cent, compared to 48.37 per cent in the February 2016 General Election, the Electoral Office of Jamaica reported.

Johnson, in analysing his post-election findings, said, “If voter turnout was what it was in 2016 the JLP would have bested the PNP by 20 points — 59 per cent to 39 per cent.”

Johnson's post-election poll, which was also commissioned by the Observer, was conducted September 11-13 among 1,000 voting-age Jamaicans island.

The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus three per cent.

The pollster reported that 52 per cent of the sample were enumerated but decided not to vote.

When they were asked whom they probably would have voted for, if they had voted, 46 per cent said the JLP, 21 per cent said the PNP, 27 per cent were undecided and six per cent refused to answer the question.

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