Wed | Dec 1, 2021

Poll: Half of J’cans approve of Holness’ performance

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2020 | 12:32 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

The parliamentary Opposition’s decision to preach about corruption and scandal in the Holness administration has begun to wear thin on electors and accounts for the bounce in public opinion for the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) as reflected in the most recent RJRGLEANER-commissioned Don Anderson poll, says public-affairs commentator Patrick Bailey.

The attorney-at-law said that he was also impressed by Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton’s in-your-face approach to crisis management.

Bailey credited Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ popularity, which is running ahead of his party’s ratings, to his hands-on strategy. Forty-nine per cent of the 1,038 respondents polled rated Holness’ performance as prime minister as good or very good, compared to the JLP’s 38 per cent. Thirty-seven per cent of Jamaicans believe the ruling party’s performance is neither poor nor good, 25 per cent deeming the output poor or very poor.

The polls were conducted between February 8 and 18 and have a margin of error of three per cent.

“The parliamentary Opposition, through the PAAC (Public Administration and Appropriations Committee), has sort of overplayed its hand by saturating the public’s mind, and after a while, when people pass the saturation point, them say, ‘Cho! A nuh nutten!’”

GOOD COMMUNICATOR

Bailey linked the prime minister’s impressive showing to his visibility and skills as a good communicator.

“Not since (former Prime Minister) Michael Manley have I seen a prime minister who is as informed and as articulate as Andrew Holness is,” Bailey said. “Any subject he speaks on, you get a sense that he is in command and tends to know what he is talking about. So in my view, he is a very good communicator.”

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton was rated by respondents to be the best-performing minister despite being dogged by issues such as the Cornwall Regional Hospital ventilation saga, the dengue crisis, and the looming spectre of COVID-19. His 21 per cent poll rating was six percentage points ahead of the prime minister, who came in second at 15 per cent. Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett was the third-best performer at 13 per cent.

Bailey was not surprised that Tufton could overcome these challenges to maintain pole position.

“I like how he gets ahead of every story. No matter how bad it is, he faces the media and gets ahead, so he influences the narrative. He is not one of those ministers who ducks. He comes in front of you and tries to influence the narrative,” Bailey said.

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang was rated as the worst-performing member of the Cabinet, with seven per cent. Audley Shaw, Robert Montague, and Holness all tied for second worst performer at four per cent.

A significant 61 per cent of those surveyed responded that they didn’t know who the worst performer was.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com