Two polls commissioned by the governing Jamaica Labour Party, JLP, ahead of the by-election in South East St. Mary, show their candidate, Dr. Norman Dunn, leading the People’s National Party’s candidate, Dr. Shane Alexis by double digits.
Trinidadian pollster, Derek Ramsamooj, today disclosed the findings of the two polls he did in the constituency between September 11 and 19, and Monday and Tuesday, of this week.
Two-thousand-100-persons were questioned in the first poll. The second had a sample size of just over 1700 people.
Mr. Ramsamooj says the findings of the polls show the JLP’s candidate is pulling ahead of his PNP rival.
The polls also found Prime Minister and JLP Leader, Andrew Holness, is significantly ahead of Opposition Leader and PNP President, Dr. Peter Phillips, in approval ratings.
Mr. Ramsamooj spent approximately 45 minutes being interviewed on Cliff Hughes Online this morning about the findings of his polls, commissioned by the JLP. The two polls were done one month apart in South East St. Mary.
The findings make good reading for the JLP, its candidate, Norman Dunn and Prime Minister Holness. For the opposition PNP and its new leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, the findings are distressing.
In the keenly-watched race between Dr. Dunn and Dr. Alexis, Ramsamooj says his last poll done this week shows the JLP candidate increasing his lead over his PNP rival.
He says the previous one done last month had shown the candidates in a ‘relatively tight’ contest.
That means Dr. Dunn’s support has held firm at 54-percent while Dr. Alexis’s has fallen from 45 to 35-percent.
The polls were carried out in the four divisions of South East St. Mary. Bellefield, Castleton, Annotto Bay and Richmond.
The findings come 11 days before election day on October 30.
Mr. Ramsamooj says the ‘connectivity’ of the candidates to the constituency and their ability to fix the problems affecting residents, such as jobs, infrastructure and roads, will play a significant role in the by-election.
Mr. Ramsamooj says he also polled the approval ratings of Prime Minister Holness and Opposition Leader Phillips.
On that score, Mr. Holness has a big lead over Dr. Phillips.
He says the leadership of Mr. Holness and Dr. Phillips will also play a key role in the outcome of the by-election.
Ramsamooj says the by-election could be a referendum on their leadership.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ramsamooj emphasized that his poll findings are only a snapshot of the opinions of the people he polled at the particular times.
He noted that politics is dynamic, adding that events could happen between now and election day which could influence voters.
And Mr. Ramsamooj says a majority of those polled in South East St. Mary say they wouldn’t vote for a non-Jamaican citizen.
He says 55-percent of the 1700 people polled in the constituency expressed that view.
The governing JLP has attacked the PNP’s candidate, Dr. Shane Alexis, who recently admitted to being a Canadian citizen. He doesn’t have Jamaican citizenship.
Mr. Ramsamooj’s poll also found that those polled would prefer a Member of Parliament of the JLP government.
Mr. Ramsamooj says the machinery on the day of the by-election will be important. But he says the PNP is facing an uphill battle.