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‘USELESS’ ... tops the list as Jamaicans think of Simpson Miller and Holness

Published:Sunday | October 11, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding

The first word which comes to the minds of 50 per cent of Jamaicans when they hear the name Portia Simpson Miller is not complimentary to the prime minister.

Words such as "useless", "non-performer" and "incompetent" slipped easily from the lips of Jamaicans in the latest Gleaner-Bill Johnson poll, which tested the pulse of the nation.

For the 28 per cent of Jamaicans who have a positive thought as their first word when they heard the name Portia Simpson Miller, "tries", "good" and "leader" were among the more regular responses.

For 15 per cent of Jamaicans, the name evoked a neutral response with "woman" and "prime minister" being the first words coming from their lips.

The name Andrew Holness evoked a 20 per cent negative response with "weak", "useless", "inexperienced" and "not smart" figuring prominently.

For the 29 per cent of respondents who had a positive response to the opposition leader's name, the words "good", "trying", "potential", "educated" and "leader" left their lips quickest.

However, a full 25 per cent of respondents would not say which word came to their minds first on hearing the name, while 26 per cent used neutral terms, including "young", "humble", "opposition leader" and "soft-spoken".

For Johnson, it is noticeable that the uncomplimentary "useless" popped out of the mouths of so many Jamaicans in relation to the two political leaders.

"I think it is hard for Jamaicans to come up with anything significant that the two leaders have accomplished, and that accounts for the responses," said the pollster, as he noted that if someone said "worthless" or "absolutely terrible", this was grouped as "useless".

"It is also noticeable that 25 per cent had no response on hearing the name Andrew Holness and seven per cent on Portia Simpson Miller, which indicates that there is a tendency to believe they have done nothing," added Johnson.

The islandwide poll was carried out September 25-27, with 1,200 residents and a sampling error of +3% or -3%.

Over her nine years as president of the People's National Party, Simpson Miller has been prime minister for five.

Holness served as prime minister for three months out of the four years that he has been leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, having failed to secure his own mandate after seeking it in the December 29, 2011 general election, when he lost to Simpson Miller.