Sun | Aug 9, 2020

‘Bad sign’ for JLP - Party shouldn’t sleep well, says Johnson, as One PNP poll shows 46% think Ja headed down wrong road

Published:Tuesday | August 13, 2019 | 12:23 AM

Seven out of every 10 Jamaicans believe “these days” their personal financial situation has either got worse or remains the same, a poll commissioned by one of the contenders in the People’s National Party (PNP) presidential race has found.

The poll, which was conducted by Bill Johnson for the One PNP team led by Dr Peter Phillips, found, too, that an identical 46 per cent of respondents believe both the country and the communities in which they reside are heading in the wrong direction, while an overwhelming majority list crime and violence as the most pressing issue the nation faces.

Thirty per cent believe the country is heading in the right direction, while 40 per cent had the same view of their communities.

For Johnson, the negative perception of where the country is heading should serve as an important warning for the Andrew Holness administration.

He pointed out that just before the PNP was swept from office in 2007, the polls found that 54 per cent of Jamaicans expressed the view that the country was heading in the wrong direction. A similar number of respondents had the same view a week before the Jamaica Labour Party was booted from office in the 2011 general election.

PNP booted in 2016

In February 2016, Johnson said polls found that 55 per cent of respondents had a negative view of where the country was heading, and the PNP was, again, booted out of office.

“So, the fact that now 30 per cent say the country is going in the right direction, if I were the JLP, I wouldn’t sleep very well,” Johnson said yesterday as he presented the findings of his poll during a press conference held by the One PNP team at Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew.

“Because, based on past history, that is not a good sign for them.”

Government officials declined to comment on the findings.

The survey was conducted between August 2 and 4 across 84 communities islandwide. It has a sample size of 1,008 persons, including 901 registered voters, and a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.

It also found that, despite a record low in the number of persons outside the labour force, unemployment was cited as the second most pressing issue for respondents at 22 per cent. Poverty, at six per cent, and corruption, at five per cent, round out the top four.

For Johnson, the five per cent who listed corruption is very significant.

“I’ve been polling here for 23 years and never has corruption been more than one per cent in the national poll. Despite all the various allegations of corruption over the last 23 years, it’s never resonated more than one per cent.”

“I would wager that if we do another poll in another couple of months, you are going to hear that corruption has doubled. It’s just ready to take off in terms of resonating with people,” he asserted.