A poll done on the marginal constituency of St Joseph by HHB and Associates shows the People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate Terrence Deyalsingh slightly ahead of Ahloy Hunt of the United National Congress (UNC), with 74 per cent of the respondents who voted for the PNM in 2015 saying they intend to support the incumbent compared to 53 per cent favouring the UNC’s candidate.
However, while Deyalsingh has a small edge over Hunt, many respondents said he has become too cocky, arrogant and is not visible in his constituency. They also said while Hunt is a newcomer in the election fray, he lacks integrity and does not care about people.
The poll, which was commissioned by Guardian Media, has a six per cent margin of error.
A sample of 200 registered electors was interviewed face to face about the major issues influencing the vote, the party best capable of solving problems, performance in the constituency, assessment of candidates among other subjects
In the 2010, 2015 general elections Deyalsingh who captured 10,536 votes compared to 8,903 for the UNC’s Vasant Bharath.
Deyalsingh the outgoing Health Minister will battle Hunt, a former lieutenant colonel and the brother of former PNM’ government minister Gary Hunt for the seat.
According to the poll, over the last five years, the PNM had recorded a 40 per cent good performance in the constituency compared to the UNC’s 23 per cent. However, 28 per cent of respondents felt the PNM had performed badly to the UNC’s 26 per cent.
In terms of favourability, Deyalsingh scored 50 per cent to Hunt’s 29 per cent, while a four per cent difference separated Hunt (22 per cent) and Deyalsingh (26 per cent) in the unfavourable category.
Respondents were asked to identify some things they liked about both candidates. Deyalsingh was praised for doing a good job by 39 per cent of the people polled compared to Hunt’s 23 per cent. On the other hand, Hunt was seen as more caring (54 per cent) than Deyalsingh (24 per cent).
In outlining the candidates’ shortcomings, respondents complained that Deyalsingh was “not visible to his constituents (25 per cent) and he does nothing (17 per cent),” the poll stated.
There is a perception that he “knows you when it’s beneficial to him,” and “ has become too cocky/arrogant.”
As for Hunt, there is the belief “that he does not care about people (12 per cent) and “lacks integrity.” Some respondents also felt “his policies are over the top.”
Overall, 93 per cent of voters stated that Deyalsingh is better known. Only 63 per cent said they knew/heard about Hunt.
The likelihood of voting among electors in the constituency was relatively high—75 per cent.
As to which party respondents say they would support, 40 per cent favoured the PNM and 31 per cent supported the UNC, while, 22 per cent were unsure or refused to say who they would vote for. Eight per cent said they will not be voting
According to the poll’s voter switching patterns, “data shows 74 per cent of those who voted for the PNM in 2015 intend to do so again in 2020.” A little more than half (53 per cent) of those who voted for the UNC five years ago promised to support Hunt.
The poll also revealed that seven per cent of those who voted for the UNC in 2015 intend to switch to the PNM.
“This compares with the three per cent who voted for the PNM in 2015, intending to switch to the UNC in 2020,” the poll stated
Voters cited youth training and development (99 per cent), infrastructure (97 per cent) and unemployment (96 per cent) as the three most important issues that will influence their votes. The least of their concerns was the illegal Venezuelan immigrants, reopening of the economy and allowing foreign nationals to come home.
On the question of which party is best capable of solving problems, respondents choose the PNM over the UNC.
Almost one-third of voters (31 per cent) said they are personally worse off today compared to five years ago, while 38 per cent claimed their personal situation had not changed and 29 per cent said they were in a better position.
Poll’s methodology for St Joseph (put in a box)
A random sample of 200 electors was drawn from this constituency and the polling divisions (PDs) were grouped by loyalty to the UNC of PNM.
Loyal PDs were identified as those in which the winning party had a difference from the loser of 15 per cent or more. All others were deemed to be marginal.
This allowed HHB and Associates to select smaller samples from loyal polling divisions and larger samples from marginal divisions.
The demographic characteristics of the sample with respect to age, gender, race and religion reflect the pollster’s estimate of the characteristics of the constituency as a whole.