Bet on Phillips

'One PNP' poll shows party's sitting president is its best chance for a general election victory

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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THE Dr Peter Phillips-led 'One PNP” team is oozing confidence following the findings of a poll it commissioned, which shows that he is the party's best bet to lead it back into Jamaica House.

“Our 'One PNP Powerful Together' team has embarked on a very strategic, spirited and high road campaign. A campaign that is geared at taking the message to the delegates of this movement who we trust with the direction of this movement, and who we have always trusted to make the right choice,” said Natalie Neita, campaign director for the Phillips team.

“The message has been, and still is, that Dr Peter David Phillips remains the best choice to be party leader and to lead us to a victory in the next general elections,” added Neita, as she addressed a media briefing yesterday to officially release the One PNP poll findings.

This came days after the Peter Bunting-led 'Rise United' team released the result of a Don Anderson poll it commissioned, which showed him with a 36 per cent support as the person best placed to lead the PNP to victory over the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), while Phillips was at 16 per cent.

Field work for the One PNP poll, which was conducted by Bill Johnson, was done between August 2 and 4, with a sample size of 1,008 persons of which 901 were registered voters.

Johnson said 58 per cent of the respondents voted in the last general election, with an even split of 92 per cent between those who voted for the People's National Party (PNP) and the JLP. Eight per cent said they did not remember who they voted for.

Among the key findings of the Johnson poll was that a PNP led by Phillips would be in statistical dead heat with a JLP led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness if an election was called now, while a PNP led by Bunting would lose by nine percentage points.

The pollster also found 46 per cent of respondents believe Jamaica is headed in the wrong direction under the Holness Administration, while only 30 per cent said the country is headed in the right direction and 24 per cent was not sure.

According to Johnson, in previous polls from 2007 in the lead up to general elections, when the majority of persons polled said the country was going in the wrong direction the governing administration was voted out.

“So the fact that now 30 per cent say the country is going in the right direction, if I were the JLP I wouldn't sleep very well because based on history that is not a very good sign for them,” Johnson told journalists at the media briefing.

Johnson noted that when respondents were asked what is the most pressing problem facing Jamaica at this time 62 per cent said crime and violence, 22 said unemployment, six per cent said poverty, while five per cent said corruption.

“The interesting one here is corruption. I have been polling here for 23 years, and never has corruption been more than one per cent in a national poll, despite all the allegations of corruption over the 23 years.

“People said 'we know there is going to be corruption so what does it matter'. All of a sudden we have hit a point where I think people are really concerned about corruption,” said Johnson, as he wagered that this number could double if a next poll is done in another couple of months.

Against the background of the poll findings, Neita said the One PNP team is confident that the majority of delegates would put their support behind Phillips, who is the party's best bet for victory.

“It really would be a travesty of justice to deny the party and the nation the most equipped among us to serve as party leader and ultimately prime minister of Jamaica,” declared Neita.

In the meantime, the One PNP team said there was no need for a poll question as to who would be best to lead the party at this time, as done in the Rise United Anderson poll, as that was not a question which needed to be asked.

Chairman of the One PNP campaign team K D Knight, argued that the reason for the Bunting challenge was because he believes he is the best person to lead the party to an election victory and that was addressed in the Johnson poll.

“The Rise team fell into error when they said that their candidate was the one who could win the next general election. That is a fatal error and that is borne out through the (Johnson) poll.

“Our position has been very clear, based upon experience, based upon integrity, based on performance and based on vision. Peter David Phillips is clearly the only one who can boast of that,” declared Knight.


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