Which of the two poll results are right?
That is the question being asked after the results of two separate opinion polls on the weekend pointed to both Ann-Marie Vaz, who will be representing the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and Damion Crawford, the standard bearer for the People’s National Party (PNP) in the upcoming by-election for the East Portland constituency, both winning by comfortable margins.
The by-election, which will be held on April 4, was triggered by the murder of the sitting Member of Parliament (MP), the PNP’s Dr Lynvale Bloomfield.
According to a poll conducted on behalf of the PNP by Caribbean Development Research Services Inc (CDRS), 53 per cent of respondents gave the PNP the thumbs up, with the JLP trailing more than 25 points behind.
CDRS was described by the PNP as the leading regional polling organisation which correctly predicted election results in Barbados, Antigua and Grenada.
The PNP, in a statement on Sunday, said Crawford “has majority support and approval in the constituency, while support and approval for the JLP candidate… is lagging, as overall, the majority of respondents said they are unhappy with her representation so far.”
In terms of party standing, the poll found that the PNP would receive 53 per cent of the total popular vote, while the JLP would receive 27 per cent if the election was held at the time the surveys were conducted.
The CDRS poll results represent a 26 per cent difference between pledged support for the two main parties, with 20 per cent declining to answer the question.
The poll, which canvassed 612 respondents, was said to have had a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent.
Meanwhile, a poll conducted by veteran pollster, Bill Johnson, on behalf of the Jamaica Observer newspaper, found that Vaz would win the by-election by a comfortable 10 per cent margin over Crawford.
While the Johnson/Observer poll was noted to have been conducted on March 1 and 2, the PNP did not give dates for when the poll that was done on its behalf was conducted.
The Johnson/Observer team got feedback from 480 respondents, and the poll was said to have had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 per cent.
Thirty-three per cent of the respondents said they would definitely vote for the JLP, four per cent said they probably would vote for the JLP, while 25 per cent said they would definitely vote for the PNP, and two per cent said they would probably vote for the PNP.
Johnson said that when the definite and probable votes are tallied, the JLP would enjoy a majority of 37 per cent, compared to the PNP’s 27 per cent, amounting to a lead of 10 per cent.
Eighteen per cent of the respondents said they were undecided, while 18 per cent indicated that they would not vote.
When asked to give the reasons for their preferences, Johnson said 37 per cent of those who indicated that they would vote for the JLP said they would do so because the governing party was doing a good job and making progress; 26 per cent said they were supporters of the party and that their loyalty was a family tradition; 16 per cent felt that the JLP is better than the PNP, while 17 per cent said that Vaz is a good representative.
Of those who were certain that they would vote for the PNP, 43 per cent said they were supporters and that their endorsement was a family tradition; 20 per cent said the party would do a good or better job than the JLP; while 11 per cent said the PNP cares about people.