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New Poll says Election Race Close

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THIS poll was commissioned by AZPNews.com in order to predict the outcome of Trinidad and Tobago general elections on Monday August 10, 2020.

It was conducted by Supreme Media Services under the guidance and supervision of Gerald Pradesh Latchman.

Latchman has a Masters in Small and Medium Enterprise Management from Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business as well as a Bachelor in History and Economics from the University of the West Indies. He also holds a Diploma in Education as well as an Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting.

He has been conducting polls and surveys since 2013 for a number of private entities who wanted to gain knowledge about their organisations.

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The Poll

The analysis focuses on nine marginal constituencies which Supreme Media Services predict will determine the outcome of the elections.

This first part gives the overall poll and breaks down the results.

There were 1,980 respondents surveyed – 220 per constituency – and was conducted between July 17 to July 31, 2020.

The survey reveals that four seats – St Joseph, Moruga/Tableland, La Horquetta/Talparo and Tobago East – may change hands and therefore determine the elections. The margin of error was 5%.

The lead by each party is so slim and anyone who can woo the undecided will have a significant advantage.

The key to this election under Covid-19 conditions is which party can get their supporters to the polls.

The mixed population will significantly affect the outcome of this election. The number of mixed persons in all of the marginals is significant. Any political party now and in the future must address this issue. The traditional base is getting smaller.

Percentage
POSSIBILITIES UNC PNM UNSURE NOT VOTING CHANGE
TUNAPUNA 42 45 12 1 NO
LA HORQUETTA/TALPARO 38 36 20 6 YES
SANFERNANDO WEST 38 41 18 4 NO
MORUGA/TABLELAND 37 34 20 9 YES
ST JOSEPH 43 40 12 5 YES
SAN JUAN 48 33 8 2 NO
PONITE-A-PIERRE 43 41 13 3 NO
MAYARO 46 38 9 7 NO
NUMBER 6 2
PDP PNM
TOBAGO EAST 47 43 8 2 YES
NUMBER 1 0

Another important change is religion. The traditional faiths such as Roman Catholic, Hindu and Islam are under threat from other religious sources. In all the areas polled the ‘other’ religion was significant.

In fact, of the three traditional dominant religion only Islam has shown growth in numbers.

The Muslim vote is becoming an important vote in all of these areas. The Muslims have also been known to vote as a group on common issues.

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The Nafeesa effect will be strong giving her remarks on the government.

It possible for the results to remain as they currently are (23-18) at present and PNM walks away with the prize.

But another possibility is that UNC could capture 24 seats, the PDP one and the PNM 16. This will depend a lot on how well they mobilise to the polls.

The PNM is leading in Tunapuna and San Fernando West – but barely.

The work put in by the opposition in La Horquetta in particular may lead to a favourable result for the UNC.  Tunapuna has gotten too close to comfort for the PNM.

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The Game Changers

San Fernando West has become a relatively safe seat for the PNM with the margin of victory in 2015. Many residents complained of neglect, a lack of performance, crime and unemployment as serious issues.

Moruga /Tableland could change hands as well. 2015 was a close election in that seat, a difference of only 533 votes. The PNM candidate is not very popular and his recent troubles seem to have adversely affected his ratings. Again, similar to San Fernando West the complaints are the same.

St Joseph is a critical seat and has become very unpredictable.  The incumbent is facing a hard battle from his opponent. Many residents were not satisfied with his performance and his handling of the constituency. Having the portfolio of a Minister of Health often means less time for the constituents. This can work against him.

Tobago East is very interesting. The recent movement of elder politicians in to the corner of the PDP is something to note. They may not have joined forces but they certainly have made their opinions heard.

Pointe-a-Pierre is another interesting seat. It was won by the UNC in 2015. It is expected to stay with them. But the residents and voters are not too impressed with UNC candidate. The closure of Petrotrin should work in his favour.

Mayaro. The margin of victory in 2015 was quite a lot. This seat may be the least marginal of all. The UNC is expected to secure victory.

La Horquetta/Talparo. The momentum is certainly with the UNC in this area. But will it be enough? The lack of jobs, flooding and social issues certainly has placed the seat up in the air.

The Questions

The poll covered a very wide range of topics

  • Who is the better leader?
  • How did you think the government handled Covid-19 ?
  • How many Venezuelans do you think are in the country?
  • Do you think that the present government is corrupted?
  • Do you support the Government’s relationship with the Maduro government?
  • Did you agree with the Laptop removal?
  • Do you think the government is being honest with the Covid-19 information?

Observations

  • Traditional religion is losing tremendous ground to other religions.
  • The Muslim vote is becoming more important in all seats.
  • The dougla or mixed vote is very important to both parties.

The Background

2010 and 2015 saw a change in government. The People’s Partnership swept the 2010 polls while the PNM rebounded under Dr Rowley to take the prize in 2015.

 

The chart shows that the PP lost nine seats in the 2015 polls to the PNM.  A wide range of issues lead to the population losing faith in the Persad-Bissessar government and removing them from office.

In both instances and as happens often the marginals determined the outcome.

Are there more marginal this time around?

Has the UNC made any recovery from the last election? This was certainly seen in the local government elections.

The people polled

A total of 1,980 people were polled over a two-week period. It has a margin of error of +/- 5%.

Nine seats polled are considered to be the ones to determine the election. A total of 220 persons from each marginal was polled.

The marginal with their incumbent MP

TUNAPUNA

PNM
ST JOSEPH PNM
SAN JUAN BARATARIA UNC
LA HORQUETA/TALPARO PNM
SAN FERNADO WEST PNM
POINT A PIERRE UNC
MORUGA/ TABLELAND PNM
MAYARO UNC
TOBAGO EAST PNM

 

For the UNC to win the election it needs to hold on to their 18 seats and secure three additional seats from the above.

The PNM has to ensure that it holds on to at least 21 seats to retain power. The task is much harder for the UNC than it is for the PNM.

The respondents

  1. Sex distribution

A total of 1,980 people were polled = 1,000 women and 980 men

2. Religion 

 

The traditional religions were emphasised to clearly show that the traditional power house of religion has shifted. The other religions are taking dominance and any party hoping to secure victory must appeal to this 33 percent. They can make or break the election.

It is interesting to note that of the traditional religions only the Muslim faith is showing growth.

3. Ethnicity

 

4. Age distribution

 

5. The issues

 

This shows that a variety of issues occupy the voters mind. The normal fellows are there: crime, corruption and leadership. Interestingly the Venezuelan issue with Delcy Rodriguez rates very high along with Covid- 19.

 

6. Government handling of Covid-19

The initial response of people was overwhelmingly positive. At the three-month juncture of the lockdown it was only 50%. This was because a lot of people complained they did not receive the grants and were financially starved at that point. At present the approval rating is very low.  A lot of this is because of the border issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as the population is concerned the Government has been perceived to be less than honest about the Covid 19. 45% see the government as not being honest while 36% view them as honest. Respondent argue that too many mixed signals were sent and they cannot account for the vast spending.

 

Click to see part 2 of the poll below:

Poll Shows UNC with the Momentum

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