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UWI Sociology Division's THA poll predicts: PNM: 7 seats, TOP: 2 seats, marginal: 3 seats

The People's National Movement (PNM) will control the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) after tomorrow's elections.

This prediction is based on the results of an independent, self-financed survey conducted by the Sociology Division of the Faculty of Social Sciences at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine done in Tobago from December 12-15, 2012.

The survey's conclusions are based on the assumption that voters' intentions will hold.

But that victory may not come easy as the survey indicated that a large percentage of voters remained undecided and the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) had a lead in some districts.

It predicts: "TOP will win two seats, the PNM will win seven seats and three are difficult to call. PNM will control the Tobago House of Assembly (THA)."

The third political party in the THA race, headed by former THA chief secretary Hochoy Charles called The Platform for Truth, did not make an impression on the survey.

The poll interviewed a proportionate, random sample of 108 people from ten polling districts in the sister island. Their ages ranged from 18 to 70 years with the mean age group being 31-40 years.

It carried a margin of error of plus/minus two percentage points.

The survey by the Sociology Division and its senior lecturer Dr Ronald Marshall stated that more women (55.6 per cent) were interviewed compared to men (44.4 per cent).

And when it came to ethnicity, 88 per cent of the people polled were Africans compared to other groups and most had voted five to seven times before. The poll observed that 37 per cent of the respondents had primary education, 32 per cent had secondary education and 14 per cent had tertiary education.

In Tobago, location is important. (See Table 1).

It informed the answer to the survey question, "Are you likely to vote as you did in the last THA election?"

In the areas where the PNM has support like Plymouth/Golden Lane and Roxborough/Delaford, the support was overwhelming at 67 per cent and 83 per cent respectively, the survey results indicated.

At Canaan/Bon Accord and Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah where the TOP has support, again it was in the majority at 83 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

A large percentage- 33 per cent in Belle Garden/Goodwood, 33 per cent in Parlatuvier/L' Anse Fourmi/Speyside and 20 per cent in Bacolet/ Mount St George were undecided.

When it came to the performance of the THA, location again informed the response to the Orville London-led THA, the survey analysis by the Sociology Division suggested.

The THA generally performed "Good".

However, 60 per cent of respondents interviewed in Bacolet/Mount St George rated the THA's performance as "Very Poor" while 50 per cent of respondents interviewed in Roxborough/Delaford rated its performance as "Excellent".

Generally, people interviewed felt their standard of living remained about the same and was a "little better" in the past 12 months.

All the respondents interviewed in the Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah area felt their standard of living was the same compared to 67 per cent of respondents of Lambeau/Signal Hill who felt that life had got a little better.

In Roxborough/Delaford 22.2 per cent felt that life was a lot better compared to 20 per cent at Bacolet/Mount St George who felt that life in the last 12 months was a lot worse.

In nine out of ten districts polled, the majority of respondents felt that the THA did not get a fair share of the country's resources.

It ranged from 50 per cent in Lambeau/Signal Hill to 89 per cent in Buccoo/Mount Pleasant.

Only in Bacolet/Mount St George did 60 per cent of the people interviewed feel that the THA got a fair share of the country's resources.

When asked, "Do you think Tobago should be run entirely by the Tobago House of Assembly?", the majority of respondents said "No".

However, in Belle Garden/Goodwood, Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden and Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah, the respondents felt that Tobago should be run by the THA.

Respondents were of the view that people in Government "look after themselves" rather than "do the right thing", the survey analysis said.

In all ten districts polled, the majority of respondents felt that people in Government usually looked after themselves.

The percentage points of answers to this question from polled respondents ranged from 55 per cent in Lambeau/Signal Hill to 100 per cent in Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah.

Only in Buccoo/Mount Pleasant did 37.5 per cent of people polled believe that people in Government "sometimes" looked after themselves.

When it came to the final question of "Which in your view is the better party?", the PNM won the two-party race. (See Table 2.)

In some districts they were outright winners like Plymouth/Golden Lane with 81 per cent approval.

In other areas like Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah, the TOP was regarded by 66 per cent of respondents as the better party.

"In Parlatuvier/L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside, 44.4 per cent said the TOP while 11.1 per cent said the PNM; however it should be noted that in this district 33.3 per cent said they did not know which was the better party and 11.1 per cent did not respond," the Sociology Division survey stated.

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