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We are not suprised! - Burke claims economic challenges cause Simpson Miller to suffer in polls

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

"We are not surprised, but we are concerned."

That's the word from general secretary of the People's National Party (PNP) Paul Burke in response to poll findings that show Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's favourability rating dipping to unprecedented levels.

Burke attributed the drop to what he characterised as eight years of economic challenges and the failure of the party to effectively communicate with the populace.

"We accept that there is an economic reality which has taken toll on the party, its president and prime minister," said Burke. "This is about our eighth year of recessionary type of economic constraint."

Burke said that analyses show that the party has not been communicating well enough.

"We understand why Jamaicans would feel that way. It has been a long, difficult period, and the prime minister and party president, being head of Government and the PNP, is held accountable."

Two poll findings published in yesterday's Sunday Gleaner were unfavourable to Simpson Miller in her ninth year as PNP president and fifth as prime minister.

Party insiders also told The Gleaner that it was not surprising, as the findings of the Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll were, in a large measure, consistent with surveys that the PNP has commissioned.




In one of two findings, The Sunday Gleaner reported that Simpson Miller's favourability rating had hit an all-time low, falling 42 percentage points from the time she was first sworn in as prime minister in March 2006.

In the other, Simpson Miller attracted uncomplimentary depictions from 50 per cent of Jamaicans, with only 28 per cent being favourable.

Not only has Simpson Miller's favourability ratings plummeted, but the number of Jamaicans who view her in an unfavourable light has increased nearly fivefold.

In March of 2006, only 11 per cent of Jamaicans had an unfavourable opinion of Simpson Miller, but that has leapt to 51 per cent.

Only 36 per cent of Jamaicans have a favourable opinion of Simpson Miller compared to her all-time high of 78 per cent, which was recorded in 2006.

Some Gleaner readers appear to support Johnson's argument that: "Things are just wearing thin."

One reader declared: "What I can say is that the country cannot take another five years of a 'silent' leader who speaks only when someone 'ruffles' her feathers."

Another said: "Poverty, depravity, and agony are much more than silence."

He suggested that, even for the committed blind worshippers and followers, empty election promises, severe economic hardships and "massive, oppressive government taxation" have consequences.