An opinion poll on governance conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers’ Association (NACTA) last month, found widespread rejection among the population of both the PNM Government and Opposition UNC to manage T&T’s affairs – but the PNM still found favour to govern.
However, respondents also felt “that an amalgamation of opposition forces – like the formation of the NAR in 1986 under a credible, likeable leader – will sweep away the incumbent PNM.”
The poll was conducted in March by Dr Vishnu Bisram. The sample of 550 adults interviewed in Trinidad was stratified to reflect the demographics of the population.
According to NACTA’s poll, both political parties “are extremely unpopular with unprecedented low approval ratings.”
“The Government’s approval rating is at an all-time low of 31 per cent, with a disapproval of 52 per cent. The Opposition’s rating is not any better. Only 30 per cent approve of the performance of the opposition, with 51 per cent disapproving it.
“A majority of voters do not think that the currently constituted UNC can defeat the PNM in the next general election.”
NACTA added, “Large majorities of voters said they aren’t pleased with the leadership and parliamentary representation of either political party.
However, when asked if they have to choose between the two parties to govern them, the PNM will remain in office for another term. Voters do not view the currently constituted UNC as a credible alternative.
“Voters said there is need for a credible alternative to both parties and lament none is in the making.
“But respondents did say several non-elected political forces like Gary Griffith and Phillip Alexander are doing a better job holding the Government accountable than the official Opposition.”
NACTA noted, “A shocking finding was the growing acceptance of Watson Duke’s PDP in Trinidad and his high positive rating of traditional supporters of both the PNM and UNC in Trinidad.”
Based on the findings, NACTA stated Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has the nod of approval for his performance of 37 per cent, a decline by 8 per cent from a similar poll conducted last August.
“The PM’s disapproval rating stands at 47 per cent, up by four per cent, with 16 per cent not offering a rating or giving him a neutral rating.
“Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s approval also saw a decline of seven per cent from August to 39 per cent and a disapproval of 46 per cent.”
NACTA’s sample of those polled found that “only a handful of MPs have likeable ratings among the population, with Dinesh Rambally, Roodal Moonilal and Saddam Hosein, among others, standing out.”
On Government’s side, Pennelope Beckles and Dr Nyan Gadsy-Dolly stand out for their ministerial and parliamentary performance.
“Almost everyone said crime is the most serious problem facing T&T. People live in fear even in daylight hours with 78 per cent saying they are dissatisfied with Government’s handling of crime. Large majorities didn’t approve of Government’s handling of the economy and COVID. Seventy per cent were supportive of a COVID pandemic grant to help struggling households. Seventy-two per cent was also critical of Government’s handling of the diving disaster that claimed four lives.”