Sunday’s North American Teachers Association (NACTA) poll came as no surprise, said leader of the Tobago Council of the PNM Tracy Davidson-Celestine.
An opinion survey done by NACTA among 380 voters found the PNM is leading in the battle for Tobago East and West. The survey was done by Dr Vishnu Bisram, who has been doing opinion polls in Tobago since 2000.
The poll said: “The PNM is leading the PDP in Tobago East by five per cent – 47 per cent to 42 per cent, with one per cent for a small party and ten per cent undecided. In Tobago West, the PNM’s lead is wider, by some eight per cent – 48 per cent to 40 per cent with one per cent for small parties and 11 per cent undecided. The small parties would not make any difference in the outcome.”
Speaking with Newsday on Monday, Davidson-Celestine said the NACTA polls are in keeping with what the party’s data has been showing: “That we’re leading the elections; Tobago East and also Tobago West and then overall for Trinidad and Tobago.”
She said: “Our MPs for Tobago East and Tobago West...our candidates now in this race, they have been doing their work from day one when they were elected as representatives to serve all of us. They have been in the communities, they have been very creative and innovative in terms of the programmes that they’ve offered to the people, and more so as representatives in Cabinet they would have negotiated so that resources can be brought to us in Tobago, so they’ve done very well.
"So the NACTA polls are no surprise to us at this point in time, and we continue to so what we have to do to remain out front, to win the elections and to continue to serve the people of Tobago and by extension, Trinidad and Tobago.”
Candidate for the Tobago West seat, Shamfa Cudjoe said she intended to adopt a wait-and-see approach.
“I’m not big on polls…the scientists and those who have been in the business for longer than I am, some of them believe in polls.
But, she said, “I believe that elections are won on election day by people who go out and place their votes in the ballot box. An intention to vote is different from an actual vote.
"So I think at the end of the day, it boils down to continuing to solicit support up until election day, and on the day, getting the machinery oiled and working so that we can get people out of their homes so this interest in voting would turn into actual votes.”
Tobago East candidate, Ayanna Webster-Roy shared Cudjoe’s sentiments.
“We cannot depend on a poll and get complacent. It is imperative for us to ensure that our election-day machinery works and that we bring all our supporters out to the polls.
“Notwithstanding, I am confident that the People’s National Movement would retain the two seats in Tobago. Minister Cudjoe and myself, we did the work over the last five years, we remain connected and grounded and serving our constituents and I’m positive that the public would evaluate us and will still have confidence to let us move forward as their representatives,” she said.