Both the ruling PNM Administration and the Opposition UNC have slipped in the latest opinion surveys conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) with a significant percentage of the population saying a third political force was needed.
The surveys, which were conducted in June, July and September, also reveal that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had slipped in the polls while Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s rating were marginally above the Prime Minister’s figures.
“New insight from ongoing opinion surveys conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association in June and July and being conducted over the last couple of weeks (September) reveals the PNM government and the Prime Minister himself have been badly slipping in popularity ratings,” NACTA stated yesterday.
“However, the Opposition UNC led Peoples Partnership has not been making gains, and the Opposition Leader’s approval rating is just marginally above that of the PM,” the poll stated.
“The poll also reveals that the politics over the last several months has been static with voters disgusted at both major political parties. The PNM and UNC are unpopular even in their own traditional strongholds in terms of approval rating, the Government has been tanking – 33 per cent now continuing a downward trend in June and July of 37 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.”
“The approval rating of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is appreciably a little higher but also slipping – 40 per cent in September, 41 per cent in July and 42 per cent in June,” NACTA stated, adding Persad Bissessar’s approval rating was “marginally better at 42 per cent and has not seen much shift from June and July (43 per cent).
NACTA noted that approval ratings for the Government, Prime Minister and Opposition Leader seem to be shaped by “ethnicity” with Indians favourably disposed towards Persad-Bissessar and Africans for Dr Rowley.
However, in terms of popular support, NACTA observed that people were turned off from both political forces with voters “dissatisfied with both the governing party and the opposition partnership.”
“They are very disappointed with the broken promises of the PNM and the Partnership is not viewed as a viable alternative. People are preoccupied with their own lives and politics is far removed from their mind,” NACTA stated.
“Support for the two political forces is almost even at 30 per cent with people saying they want a third force. The general feeling among the population is if an election were to be held now with the same two political choices, there will be a very low turnout,” NACTA stated.
The surveys were supervised by Dr Vishnu Bisram and used the “intercept contact method” of face to face interviews with 380 adults interviewed in June, 410 in July and 390 in September to represent the demographic composition of the population. Only Trinidad was surveyed.
The surveys stated that rising crime, widespread perception of corruption, arrogance among some Ministers and Government officials, and a stagnant economy among other factors were “taking a heavy toll on the approval ratings of the PM and the Government.”
The findings of the three polls also reveal that crime was the number one concern of citizens with 96 per cent saying crime was a “major concern” for them up from 95 per cent in July and 93 per cent in June.
The poll also found that 69 per cent identifying “perceived corruption” as a “worrying matter” up from 63 per cent in July and 54 per cent in June. The poll also stated that another worrying trend was the increase in the percentage of respondents who say they are worried that the country was not moving in the right direction – 89 per cent up from 85 per cent in July and 83 per cent in June.