PNP polling mirage

Dr. Peter Phillips – former Minister of Finance

The PNP rise united and one PNP team are in a desert and seeing a massive mirage but tell their supporters that the prize is at hand, nothing could be further from the truth, as they can’t tell them of the Tsunami ahead.
According to the Bill Johnson polls, the PNP headed by Peter Phillips will do a better job than Bunting in the next general election. Johnson points to a factor of the majority of persons saying the country is going in the wrong direction, a sure sign the JLP should be concerned. History is not kind to Johnson’s words. In 2016, ahead of the General election, “Certainly, at this stage, it is going to be an orange sky on election night rather than a green sky,” pollster Bill Johnson commented after his recent national poll found the PNP four percentage points ahead of the Jamaica Labour Party, The Gleaner reported. “The movement definitely appears to be an orange movement and not a green movement,” said Johnson. “Everything seems to be pointing in the direction of a strong PNP victory,” he added.
No such development took place, as the election ended with a narrow defeat for the PNP. But Johnson is not alone, poll results posted on February 22 showed, “the party standings in the latest RJR Group/Don Anderson polls show the governing People’s National Party (PNP) still ahead of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) but by only three percent, as against four percent one month ago.”
Polls taken well ahead of an election is not a very accurate indicator of the outcome. Polls taken when one party is very active and the other is not will be highly biased towards the active one.
Two factors in the Johnson polls that are questionable. Jamaica has not seen a voter turnout close to 70 percent since the 1980s so any poll with that level of likely turnout has several persons lying to the pollsters as the turnout is unlikely to exceed 55 percent. In the last general election, it was under 50 percent. The other error is that the feedback that the country is going in the wrong direction is a variance with several other factors in the country. It does not accord with business and consumer confidence levels that are at record levels. It does not conform to record levels of employment and record low levels of unemployment and most importantly, it is at a huge variable with the best predictor of election a year out, the Jamaica Stock Exchange performance. The latter is calling the next general election with its robust performance.
By the way, with both the Anderson and Johnson polls showing the JLP ahead how will the PNP heal the wound created by the leadership challenge before Prime Minister Holness takes advantage of it?

Pollsters terribly wrong on turnout

PNP The conventional wisdom, according to political pundits, is that a high turnout for elections favours the challengers and a low one, the government, but they don’t really say what is a low turnout? The latest polls show Anderson projecting 58 percent turnout and Johnson 62 percent.
The big question is that high or low? The answer, it is very high but we are unlikely to see anything that high, but even at 50 percent, it will be the highest number of voters ever with 912,205 or 42,767 more than in 2011, that would mean only 24 percent of the increased numbers on the voters list since 2011 would be voting.
The 2011 election saw the PNP picking up 464,280 votes to the JLP’s 405,158, for the PNP is was 59,000 more than in 2007 while the JLP got 5,000 less than in 2007.
JLP man -2-16Jamaican pollsters have consistently failed to accurately predict the out turn in Jamaican general elections going back for many elections. No one has done a study as to the reasons. In August 2007 Anderson showed an improbable 82% of the voters saying they would vote. Bill Johnson had it at 80 percent. It turned out that 61 percent voted, that is a huge difference. In 2002 Anderson had it at 78 percent, the actual was 59 percent and in 1997 the forecast was 79 percent versus actual of 65 percent. In 2011 the forecast was 78 percent by Anderson and Johnson 74 percent massively off from the actual.
Jamaican pollsters are not the only ones in the Caribbean to get the turnout wrong but those in Trinidad don’t seem as badly off as in Jamaica.
Trinidadians went to the polls in general elections late 2015 and two set of pollster got the outcome wrong. It appears that the main reason is an over estimation of voter turnout. IC Insider projected that the PNM would have won based on the results of one poll finding and plotting the data against the results of the previous election.
UNC crwdThat poll result released on the Sunday ahead of the polls showed a voter turnout of 74 percent, a level that Trinidad and Tobago has not seen since 1961. In the 2010 elections, the turnout was 69.45 percent, 66.03 percent in 2007 and 69.64 percent in 2002, next closet was 1991 with 65.76 percent. IC Insider stated that based on the pattern of recent years it would be surprising if the turnout exceeded 70 percent and that could make a huge difference to the final election results. In the end the turnout fell well below 70 percent, at 66.84.
Turnout at the last elections in Jamaica, was just over 53 percent, based on history that was low compared with previous elections but was it really that low? A look at the number of persons voting tells a different story. Political pundits say that the 2011 election had a low turnout, and if so favoured the government party but they lost. The fact is that the adage the pundits constantly quote is not based on all the facts. They focus on the level of turnout rather than what the overall numbers are saying. As it the 2011 elections had the highest turnout in the history of the country with 869,438 voters going to the polls, 52,878 more than in 2007 while 2007 had 47,802 more voters than 2002. If the election this week has the same level of turnout as in 2011 it would result in a massive 962,486 voters going to the polls or a massive 93,048 more voters.
If Johnson is right, his poll estimate of 62% would result in 1,131,134 voters or 261,696 more voters exercising their rights to determine the government for the next 5 years, a figure that is more than the increase of the voters list. In the case of Anderson it would result in 1,058,158 votes or 188,720 more votes than in 2011 and would in fact be a huge turnout of voters even as the figures on the surface suggest a relatively low turnout. Even the Johnson polls that showed 55 percent of voters indicating that they will definitely vote would result in a massive voter turnout of nearly 1 million votes.