Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Bleak polls will energise PNP base, says Paulwell

Published:Friday | August 21, 2020 | 12:29 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Phillip Paulwell, co-campaign director of the People's National Party, punches the air during a tour of St Catherine East Central on August 15.
Phillip Paulwell, co-campaign director of the People's National Party, punches the air during a tour of St Catherine East Central on August 15.

Despite flagging poll numbers showing both the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) and its leader trailing their counterparts, co-Campaign Director Phillip Paulwell has projected that the party will triumph in the September 3 general election.

Paulwell dismissed concerns that the negative poll numbers and party president Dr Peter Phillips’ overall low ratings could drain the party’s energy.

Instead, he believes they will have the opposite effect.

“There will be no sapping of energy here. In fact, you may find that the polls end up motivating the Comrades to get that energy even higher and fired up to take the seats we have targeted on the other side,” Paulwell told The Gleaner on Thursday.

Phillips said, earlier this month, that he was unfazed by an avalanche of opinion polls over the past month showing him trailing the prime minister.

An RJRGLEANER-commissioned Don Anderson poll released on Wednesday indicates that almost twice as many registered voters intend to cast their ballots for the JLP as their main rivals, the PNP.

The poll showed that 36 per cent of electors would put their X beside the bell for the JLP. Twenty per cent of respondents expressed a preference for the PNP.

Paulwell said, however, that the party base is not daunted. He said that the PNP remains confident of victory, especially in must-win seats.

The co-campaign director theorised that constituency polls would be of more importance to the party’s strategy.

With the election 13 days away, Paulwell believes that the party will find a second wind and condemn the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to a single term.

“Our base is awakened, and you could see that from our display of tremendous spirit and energy on nomination day across Jamaica on Tuesday,” the Kingston Eastern and Port Royal incumbent said on Thursday.

The leadership of Team PNP, which won 29 seats in the 2016 election, stated that it is targeting a few currently under JLP incumbency.

Paulwell said the PNP has a winning strategy.

“We intend to win in excess of 32 seats. We do start with 29, and we intend to hold on to those and pick up some from the JLP that will secure Government for us,” he said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com