More say SOEs effectiveTuesday, July 28, 2020
More Jamaicans polled believe the states of public emergency (SOEs) are effective than those who feel otherwise.
At the same time, the majority of respondents in the latest Bill Johnson poll identified crime as the most pressing problem in the country at this time.
The poll, commissioned by the Jamaica Observer, was conducted July 9 to 12, 2020 using a sample size of 1,200. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent.
Johnson reported that when his researchers asked Jamaicans to say whether they thought the states of emergency have been effective in reducing crime, 49 per cent of respondents said yes, 43 per cent said no, while eight per cent said they don't know.
The pollster pointed out that of those who said the anti-crime measure was effective, 66 per cent revealed that they had voted for the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the 2016 General Election, 40 per cent said they had voted for the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), while 45 per cent said they did not vote in those elections.
Of those who felt the SOEs were not effective, 29 per cent supported the JLP in the last general election, 55 per cent indicated that they had voted for the PNP, while 46 per cent said they did not vote.
The poll findings come amidst continued jousting between the Government and Opposition about the effectiveness of the SOEs. The Opposition has consistently voiced concern about the measure, stating that it is overused and is stretching the resources of the security forces. The Government, on the other hand, insists that the SOEs are helping to reduce crime while giving the State time to provide law enforcers with the tools they need to effectively combat criminals.
Two weeks ago, legislators in the lower House agreed to extend the SOEs to September 3 based on an understanding between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition that they would increase bipartisan cooperation with the recently formed private sector-led stakeholders group, which also includes the Church.
Last Friday, the Senate approved the extension of the SOEs which are in effect in Kingston East, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland, Clarendon, St Catherine, the St Andrew South Police Division, Central Kingston, and Western Kingston.
Public support for the SOEs is most likely tied to the poll finding that crime is regarded by 45 per cent of respondents as the most pressing problem facing the country now.
Johnson noted that 43 per cent of those polled held the same view in a survey conducted March 12-15, 2020 but which was not published due to the coronavirus outbreak in Jamaica.
In that March poll, coronavirus was identified by 35 per cent of respondents as the second most pressing problem. However, in the latest survey, 26 per cent of those polled said COVID-19 was the second most pressing problem.
Do you think the states of emergency that the Government has declared in various parts of Jamaica have been effective in cutting down on crime or not?
Not Effective 43%
Don't Know 8%
How respondents voted in 2016
Total JLP PNP Did Not Vote
Effective 49% 66% 40% 45%
Not Effective 43% 29% 55% 46%
Don't Know 8% 5% 5% 9%
What, in your opinion, is the most pressing problem the country faces at this time?
March 12-15 July 9-12
Crime 43% 45%
Coronavirus 35% 26%
Unemployment 15% 21%
Cost of Living 7% 14%
Corruption 2% 7%
Health services 3% 1%
TOMORROW: Coronavirus concerns and how the pandemic is being handled by the Government