A recent poll conducted in St. Andrew Eastern shows that its Member of Parliament, Fayval Williams, enjoys high favourability when compared to People’s National Party, PNP, caretaker, Venesha Phillips.
The poll was conducted by former Head of the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Professor Lloyd Waller, in June and July.
The overall approval rating for Ms. Williams was a whopping 75% as against 25% cent for Ms. Phillips.
It’s understood the poll was conducted among five hundred residents of St. Andrew Eastern.
In the last three General Elections, St. Andrew Eastern has swung to the winning political party. It’s now a very competitive marginal seat.
But, the latest poll shows a wide gap between the sitting MP, Fayval Williams and PNP caretaker, Venesha Phillips.
The findings show Mrs Williams receiving a moderate to high score of 3 out of 5 for her performance in the constituency.
However, when asked which candidate would make a better MP, 74% of residents say Mrs. Williams, who’s the Minister of Science, Technology and Energy.
Only 26% of respondents favoured Ms. Phillips.
Those who believe Mrs. Williams would make the better candidate cited her personality and work ethic.
Mrs. Williams is described as very helpful, accessible and willing to work with the Opposition.
According to the poll her biggest weaknesses were in communication and community involvement.
They also want Mrs. Williams to develop more training centres.
For Ms. Phillips, her personality and reliability were cited as her greatest strength.
The respondents say she’s also active in the constituency and knowledgeable about the area.
Respondents to the poll say they’re not holding her weaknesses against her, citing a lack of necessary resources to carry out a more effective campaign.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Williams and Ms. Phillips enjoy almost universal support among their party’s base.
Ms. Williams has the support of 95% of strong JLP supporters, while Ms. Phillips support is 100% among strong PNP supporters.
But, among ordinary PNP supporters Ms. Phillips’ favourability dips to 71% while, Mrs. Williams’ stands at 94% among ordinary JLP supporters.
Professor Waller warns that the 71% score of Phillips may give Mrs Williams room to exploit the PNP’s ordinary supporter base.
He also argues that because of the high favourability among the strong supporter base, any election may hinge on swing voters.
In the poll’s summary it’s noted that the big gap between the incumbent and Opposition caretaker may be due to the PNP not officially naming candidate for the constituency.
When our news centre contacted Ms Phillips, she said she was officially announced as the Opposition PNP’s caretaker in February last year.
William Mitchell for Nationwide News.
Meanwhile, PNP caretaker for St. Andrew Eastern, Venesha Phillips, says she’s not bothered by the findings of Professor Waller’s poll.
Ms. Phillips says the findings of the poll aren’t an accurate representation of the constituency.
Venesha Phillips, PNP caretaker for St. Andrew Eastern, speaking this afternoon with Nationwide News.