JLP candidates were more active on the ground

JLP candidates were more active on the ground

Monday, September 28, 2020

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Less than one-half of Jamaicans met at least one of the candidates for Parliament in their local area during the campaign for the September 3 General Election, veteran pollster Bill Johnson is reporting from his most recent survey.

In fact, the poll conducted September 11-13 found that Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidates were far more active in campaigning in their constituencies than their People's National Party (PNP) counterparts, as 34 per cent of respondents said they met the JLP candidate and 21 per cent said they met the PNP candidate.

Added Johnson, “61 per cent of those who voted for the JLP candidate for Parliament met the candidate, compared to 50 per cent of those who voted for the PNP who met the PNP candidate.”

The poll, commissioned by the Jamaica Observer, was conducted islandwide among 1,000 voting-age Jamaicans and has a sampling error of plus or minus three per cent.

It highlighted a trend that Johnson and his researchers had uncovered in their poll conducted for the Observer August 21-23, just ahead of the election, which the JLP won by a 49-14-seat landslide.

From that August poll, Johnson reported that 65 per cent of respondents had seen or met their JLP Member of Parliament within the last month, compared to 56 per cent who had seen or met their PNP Member of Parliament during the same period.

The poll also found that 33 per cent of respondents had seen or met the JLP challenger in PNP constituencies, compared to 28 per cent who had seen or met the PNP challenger in JLP constituencies.

“This is particularly significant, since the PNP has strategically decided to run individual constituency campaigns, instead of one national campaign,” Johnson stated at the time.

Earlier that month, PNP election campaign co-director Peter Bunting had told Richard “Richie B” Burgess on his Top of the Morning show on The Edge 105 FM — the Observer's sister radio station — that the PNP was concentrating on a seat-by-seat strategy to win the election.

Bunting, who eventually lost his seat to JLP newcomer Rhoda Moy Crawford, had said the campaign was going to be one where “individual constituency candidates have a much greater impact than we have seen in the past”.

That strategy was an about-face from that used in the February 2016 General Election when the PNP relied heavily on the popularity of its then President Portia Simpson Miller to attract voters.

TOMORROW: The reasons people voted the way they did

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