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What 48% really means

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A recent poll commissioned by the Express newspaper and conducted by the independent organisation Solution by Simulation (SBS) suggested that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s approval rating was at 48 per cent. The same poll concluded that Opposition Leader Keith Rowley was at 47 per cent, which is a tie when the margin of error is considered.


One interesting bit of data in the poll, conducted from May 12 to 21 with 700 adults, is that while Kamla was on the rise, her government’s approval rating was at 27 per cent. This is not as contradictory as it might seem, primarily because the Government is a collective, including members who are not necessarily as visible as the leader. The Government has also been under extreme scrutiny sometimes because of some of its own missteps and also because of a cacophony of negative voices that are creating a lopsided national conversation.

It is significant that in the midst of all that, the PM can rise to 48 per cent on the fourth anniversary of the PP’s term in office. Generally leaders lose their sheen as they move on in their mandate, with Patrick Manning being a splendid example. A poll done by Dr Selwyn Ryan in 2010 stated that only 16 per cent of respondents said Manning was fit to govern and 70 per cent saw him as corrupt, while 72 per cent said the Manning PNM government squandered taxpayers’ money.


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