NACTA: Three-way split gives PNM edge
The ongoing tracking opinion poll being conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association to determine the outcome of tomorrow’s local government elections reveals a three-way split in voter support for the People’s National Movement (PNM), People’s Partnership and the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
This makes the outcome unpredictable except in some regional corporations and some seats that are traditionally won by the PNM, NACTA said in its poll analysis statement yesterday.
“The PNM is set to take back control of several corporations it lost in July 2010, while the gains the [Partnership] made in 2010 are being reversed because of the splintering of its traditional base,” NACTA said.
The poll found that while the traditional PNM base remained largely intact, the Partnership’s base is split, with almost half going to the newly formed ILP.
“Voters overwhelmingly say (78 per cent) that the split in support of the [Partnership] base gives the PNM the edge to win more corporations and more seats than the [Partnership] and ILP,” NACTA said.
“The splitting of the votes puts the PNM as the front runner in seats and corporations that it would never have won in a two-way contest, especially in heartland UNC areas.”
In Chaguanas, a coveted prize in the local election, for example, the split vote has put the PNM in the lead in several seats where it would have had no chance in an alliance.
NACTA said: “Also, the split vote allows the PNM to make in roads in Sangre Grande and Siparia that could cost the [Partnership] (UNC) control of both corporations. The splintering of the vote gives the PNM a chance to tie in Rio Claro/Mayaro. Additionally, the divided vote allows the PNM to pick up several seats in Arima, San Fernando, and Diego Martin putting it ahead. The PNM’s hold on Port of Spain, Laventille and Point Fortin are not in danger, though the ILP has mounted a very strong challenge winning over 25 per cent of the votes.”
The poll showed the ILP has made serious inroads in traditional UNC bases (Chaguanas, Princes Town, Couva, Penal, Sangre Grande, Rio Claro, Siparia, etc), getting a lot of traditional PNM support, and has captured almost all of the support of the Congress of the People, NACTA said.
“The COP only has a chance in seats where the UNC has traditionally been strong and even in these seats, it faces an uphill battle against the ILP.”
The tracking survey has been conducted over the last month interviewing 3,300 voters.
The projections of outcome in each corporation are updated based on interviews of an average of 200 voters reflecting the demographics of the population.
Voters told interviewers they liked Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar but not several of her ministers, MPs, councillors and chairpersons of corporations, and many were casting an anti-incumbent vote, NACTA said.
However, when asked if they supported the PM’s healthcare card, 91 per cent answered in the affirmative—Persad-Bissessar’s highest rating in recent months on an issue, NACTA said.
The association said it found the closeness of the contests brought about by the splitting of the votes and undecided voters makes tomorrow’s local government elections outcome unpredictable.
Election day machinery holds the key to the outcome, it added.
Do you support Kamla’s Healthcare Card?
Yes No NS
91 4 5
Which party do you think will win the LGE?*
PNM PP ILP NS
78 7 5 10
*Voters say if the PP support were not split, it can retain control of some close seats and corporations like Rio Claro, Grande and Siparia.
Popular support for parties:
PNM PP ILP NS*
30 29 24 17
*Includes others and those who refuse to reveal their choice.
Support in selected corps:
Corporation PNM ILP COP UNC Undecided
Siparia 33 23 29 15
San Fernando 43 25 19 13
Arima 38 29 18 15
Diego Martin 41 26 17 16
Sangre Grande 29 25 28 18
Poll has margin of error of 5%.
Editor’s note: The United National Congress (UNC) is contesting the local government elections tomorrow, not the People’s Partnership.