9% JLP lead
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is enjoying a huge nine percentage point lead in support over the People’s National Party (PNP) going into tomorrow’s general elections, an Observer-commissioned opinion poll conducted by Mark Wignall has shown.
Wignall and his team of pollsters interviewed 1,454 voting age Jamaicans in 48 communities islandwide between August 25 and 27. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.
According to the pollsters, 40 per cent of those surveyed said they would be voting for the JLP at the next elections, compared to 31 per cent who said the PNP. Those who were undecided or said they were not voting amounted to 29 per cent.
At the time the poll was conducted, relief agencies were in the process of getting assistance to persons affected by Hurricane Dean which brushed the eastern and southern coasts of the island on August 19, knocking out electricity and water.
The hurricane was blamed for at least three deaths and damaged crops, homes and infrastructure.
Said Wignall, a protégé of late master pollster, Professor Carl Stone, “at the time of the poll, about 75 per cent of the island had power, while water supplies, which use electrical power for their own transmission, were in the process of being restored”.
Pointing out that the findings were based on a 71 per cent turnout, Wignall said a further look at the undecided indicates that five percentage points comprise likely voters with “lukewarm PNP characteristics”.
“One gets the impression that these are ‘bandwagon’ voters who will come on board to support the party they believe is going to win the elections,” he said.
“If these likely voters are sufficiently convinced by the PNP that that party is going to win, the PNP may be able to add 5 per cent to its tally of 31 per cent, making it a much closer fight.
“If, however, the turnout rises significantly higher than 71 per cent, the overall gain will be to the JLP’s advantage and its lead should increase even further,” he added.
The JLP lead in voter intention complements the poll’s other findings – published late last week – that the Opposition party is favoured by more Jamaicans to run the country now and is the party voters would like to see win tomorrow’s elections.
When the pollsters asked the question: ‘Which party do you believe is best suited to run the country right now?’ 46 per cent of respondents said the JLP; 39 per cent said the PNP, while 15 per cent said they did not know.
In answer to the question: ‘Which party would you like to see win the next elections?’, 44 per cent of those polled favoured the JLP, 37 per cent said the PNP, while 19 per cent said they did not know.
Said Wignall: “As the election nears, all of the indicators are showing a position in favour of the JLP with its 7 percentage point lead over the PNP in terms of which party respondents would like to see win the next elections.”
Wignall pointed out that the increased support for the JLP has also had a positive impact on JLP leader, Bruce Golding’s personal rating as, except for one constituency poll he (Wignall) did last year, the opposition leader had never before come out ahead of the prime minister in this rating.
In the August 25-27 poll, 44 per cent of respondents said they believed Golding is best suited to run the country at this time, compared to 38 per cent who chose PNP president and prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller.
Golding’s performance in the August 11 political debate with Simpson Miller seemed also to have won him more voters, Wignall said, as of the 60 per cent of respondents who said they watched or listened to the debate, 40 per cent said they would be voting for Golding, while 33 per cent said they would vote for Simpson Miller. Five per cent said they would not vote and 22 per cent were undecided.
Simpson Miller, however, received favourable ratings for her performance after Hurricane Dean, with 39 per cent of those polled saying that they were satisfied with her handling of affairs. Twenty-eight per cent said they were not satisfied, while a significant 33 per cent said they did not know.