A North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) poll ahead of the December 6 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election has been unable to predict a winner.
The survey revealed the incumbent People's National Movement is slightly ahead of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) but the outcome of the election is unpredictable.
NACTA was criticised earlier this year after its poll of the January 25 election had the PNM leading in nine electoral districts – comfortably ahead in seven of them. It had said two seats were too close to call but a clean sweep of all 12 seats was not beyond the realm of possibilities. The election ended in an unprecedented six-six tie between the PNM and PDP.
NACTA's latest poll said "either party can win a majority of the seats of the 15-member assembly. The independents have no chance of winning a seat."
The electoral boundaries were adjusted from 12 to 15 to prevent another tied result.
The latest survey interviewed "dozens of voters in each constituency."
The main issues determining how people vote are: crime, roads, health and covid, airbridge between Trinidad and Tobago, transportation costs of goods, agricultural neglect, drugs, good governance, among others.
The poll said Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis has a job performance approval rating of 54 per cent to PDP deputy leader Farley Augustine’s 48 per cent. Dennis is also the most popular of all the candidates seeking a seat with the highest voter opinion support of 56 per cent from Buccoo/Mt. Pleasant with some five per cent voters still undecided. The PNM has a slight lead in popular support that is a statistical tie.
Based on the trends of the findings, with less than a week to go before voting, NACTA said neither party has solid leads in eight seats to win control of the house. Six closely-fought seats will determine the outcome of the THA.
NACTA observations showed the PNM with strong leads in Bagatelle/Bacolet, Buccoo/Mt. Pleasant, Darrel Spring/Whim, Plymouth/Black Rock, and Signal Hill/Patience Hill. The PNM also has a comfortable lead in Scarborough/Mt. Grace but within the poll’s margin of error.
The PDP has strong leads in Belle Garden/Glamorgan, Bethel/New Grange, Parlatuvier/L’anse Fourmi/Speyside, and Roxborough/Argyle. The PDP also has a comfortable lead in Bethesda/Les Coteau but within the poll’s margin of error. This makes it a 5-4 or 6-5 PNM lead. The other four seats – Bon Accord/Crowne Point, Lambeau/Lowlands, Mason Hall/Moriah, Mt. St.George/Goodwood – are neck and neck and can go either way.
NACTA said the winner would be decided based on whichever party has the most effective election day machinery.
It said the PNM enjoys an advantage of incumbency and resources.