Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Nacta on popularity poll: Penny and Kamla tied
An opinion poll conducted by the North American Teachers Association (Nacta) last week found PNM Lady Vice Chair Penny Beckles holding a slight lead over Kamla Persad Bissessar, leader of the UNC and the Peoples Partnership, in popularity (likeability) and in terms of preference for prime minister. Penny leads Kamla by two per cent in both categories but with a margin of error of four per cent, it is a statistical tie.
A similar poll conducted two weeks earlier featuring a match up between Kamla and Dr. Keith Rowley placed Kamla ahead by two per cent (a statistical tie when factoring in the four per cent margin of error) with 16 per cent undecided, suggesting the next election will be keenly contested. The findings of the poll are obtained from interviews with 506 respondents— 44 per cent Indians, 37 per cent Africans, 18 per cent mixed and one per cent others—reflecting the demographics of the population.
Asked whether they have a positive, negative, neutral or unsure view of the two political personalities, 57 per cent said they have a positive view of Penny, while 56 per cent gave Kamla’s a positive rating—a lead of one per cent. Some 32 per cent of the respondents say they have a negative view of Penny, with 11 per cent giving her a neutral rating or “unsure” response. Subtracting Penny’s negative from her positive yields a net likeability rating of 25 per cent positive. Kamla’s negative rating of 33 per cent is slightly higher than Penny’s.
Overall, Kamla’s positive likeability rating is 23 per cent, two percent behind Penny’s. In terms of popular support, Penny has a two per cent advantage over Kamla—44 per cent of the voters said they will support Penny as against 42 per cent for Kamla. But when factoring in the sampling error, the two are in a statistical tie. Some 14 per cent of the voters are undecided holding the key to the outcome of an election that may feature both political figures as head of their party.