Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is trailing Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in approval rating among constituents of the marginal San Fernando West, according to the latest poll conducted last week by Louis Bertrand of H.H.B & Associates Limited. Some 300 adults were polled in face-to-face interviews.
The poll was commissioned by the Guardian Media Ltd and is expected to be conducted in eight marginal seats in preparation for the 2015 general election due no later than September 17.
In the first poll released on the Tunapuna constituency last week Persad-Bissessar and Rowley were close but in the latest poll, conducted last week in San Fernando West, Rowley, who received an approval rating from 58 per cent of those polled "moved ahead of Kamla Persad-Bissessar in terms of approval in the constituency of San Fernando West." The PM received a 49 per cent approval rating.
Bertrand's poll said Persad-Bissessar's acceptability as Prime Minister stood at 30 per cent, which "is almost identical with the acceptability of Rowley as Prime Minister." He got 29 per cent. It also showed that "30 per cent find Rowley 'acceptable with reservations' as compared to 24 per cent for Persad-Bissessar."
Tunapuna and San Fernando West are currently represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran and Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan respectively. They are both from the Congress of the People, which is one of the member units of the People's Partnership coalition led by Persad-Bissessar.
The poll found crime to be the "most critical issue" for the people of San Fernando West, while corruption ranked as the fourth most important.
Bertrand said one of the issues examined in the poll was the issue of which party could solve the major national issues.
It showed that the vast majority, 72 per cent of those interviewed, "could not identify a party which could solve the problem of corruption at the national level."
The poll revealed that "for the top issues identified, crime was the only one where an identified political party (PNM) exceeded the 'don't know' category."
Dealing with the incumbent MP, the poll found that 56 per cent of the constituents knew Seepersad-Bachan as their MP. It added, however, that "only 18 per cent have a favourable opinion of her as an MP."
The poll showed that the major local issues affecting constituents in San Fernando West were infrastructure, unemployment, crime, governance and rising prices. The national issues affecting San Fernando West in order of priority are crime, unemployment, health care, corruption and rising prices.