Thursday, December 14, 2017

Poll puts Rowley in lead

PNM Internal Election


Dr Keith Rowley

Mark Fraser

 Dr Keith Rowley will dominate challenger Pennelope Beckles-Robinson and retain his position as political leader of the PNM when the party holds its internal elections on May 18, a new poll has shown.

The poll, conducted from May 5-9, included 401 respondents who are either PNM members or who support the PNM.

The poll was commissioned by the Trinidad Express and conducted by Solution by Simulation headed by pollster and analyst Nigel Henry.

The methodology involved telephone interviews which were conducted by interactive voice response (IVR) and live telephone calls.

Analysis of the results showed that 85 per cent of the respondents answered that they preferred Rowley as political leader of the PNM.

Just over 8.5 per cent chose Beckles-Robinson, with six per cent undecided, the poll indicated.

Full analysis of the poll follows below:


The People’s National Movement (PNM) will hold an internal election on Sunday May 18. All party executive positions including political leader will be contested. The PNM internal election is one of six internal party elections expected this year: the COP and ILP elections are scheduled for June 29; the TOP’s by the end of July; the MSJ’s took place in March; and the date of the UNC internal election is to be announced.

Who was polled

The poll included 401 respondents who indicated they are either a PNM member, or a supporter of the PNM. About 28 per cent of the sample were members, which is a representative sample of the population since the PNM gained 285,354 votes in the 2010 General Election, and the membership list stands at 81,529.

The PNM members and the non-member supporters both had exactly equal preference for Dr Keith Rowley as political leader (85.5 per cent) as confirmed by a statistical test called the Pierson’s Chi-Square test.

Because the preferences for political leader between PNM members and the non-member PNM supporters were statistically identical, we can confidently assert that the poll’s findings are a fair reflection of the views of the PNM membership.


Support for Rowley as political leader is extremely high at 85.5 per cent, while Pennelope Beckles-Robinson follows at 8.5 per cent. The remaining respondents were either undecided, or preferred other persons who were not nominated. (See Chart 1)

Unsurprisingly, the majority of party members are expected to vote on May 18. (See Chart 2)

Rowley has roughly equal levels of support (about 80-90 per cent) among all segments of the party: party officials/delegates, rank-and-file members, new members, long-standing members, and even members who do not plan to vote.

Even among supporters of Beckles-Robinson, Rowley has high favourability, suggesting that there will probably be minimal fall-out if he is elected. Rowley’s net favourability is 67 per cent among supporters of Mrs Beckles-Robinson, compared to 75 per cent net favourabilty among all PNM supporters.

Validity of Findings

Because preference for political leader was found to be statistically independent of membership status, a technique called pooled variance can be applied. This puts the margin of error of Dr Rowley’s support rate at 3.8 per cent. However, even if only the PNM members in the sample are considered, we are 99.1 per cent confident that Mrs Beckles-Robinson is not in the lead in the race for political leader.


Telephone interviews were conducted by interactive voice response (IVR) and live telephone calls between May 5-9, 2014. The poll is based on 401 respondents who indicated that they are either a PNM member, or a supporter of the PNM. Calls were made to randomly selected Flow and TSTT listed landlines in which at least one household member was registered to vote.

The population sampled was representative of the membership status of PNM supporters, with 28 per cent of PNM supporters claiming membership. The maximum margin of error for the overall poll is five per cent.

The poll was commissioned by the Trinidad Express.