30% fall in PNP’s support

Thirty percent of PNP supporters in the 2016 general election failed to support the party in the latest general election held yesterday and was the main factor behind the massive landslide loss the party suffered in the 202 contest.
The preliminary results showed that 37 percent of the electorate voted, down from around 50 percent in 2016, when the voters’ list was purged of deceased persons. That is a colossal decline. Although the Jamaica Labour Party scored a convincing victory over the Peoples National Party, winning 49 of the 63 seats, both parties recorded reduced support.
The JLP won 406,764 of the popular votes, down by 7.4 percent from 2016. The PNP support nosedived by a whopping 30 percent or 128,500 votes compared to the 2016 elections to 305,157. The declines occurred despite 89,000 voters were added to the list since 2016. The question on the voters the overall assessment of the management of the country shows 22 percent of those who said they voted for the party in the last election said the government was doing a very good job while 45 percent said they were doing a good job. The numbers suggest division within the ranks of the PNP also played a role in the level of the defeat.
The 2016 election, the JLP polled 436,972 votes and the PNP 433,735, a total of 882,389 votes, but in the 2020 election saw only 712,000 votes cast a stunning fall. The spreading of the COVID virus seems to have had a significant effect of voters, with Public opinion polls conducted a week from the elections, indicating a fall in the decision to vote based on the spread.

30,000 less votes for JLP than 2016

The Jamaica Labour Party scored a convincing victory over the Peoples National Party winning 49 of the 63 seats that were up for grabs and winning 406,764 of the popular votes, to 14 seats from 305,157 for the PNP, in an election, with a fall of 171,000 compared to the 2016 elections.
Three seats were won by less than 25 votes, including one by the JLP by less than 10 votes and one by just 125 votes. Both parties had a lower vote count than in the 2016 general elections. The JLP polled 30,000 votes less than the 2016 results and the PNP dropped 128,500 or by 30 percent. Bill Johnson Polls done in early July had pointed to 30 percent of PNP supporters in the 2016 election stating that they would not vote for the party in 2020, with 22 percent saying the JLP government was doing a very good job of running the country and 45 percent saying they were doing a good job.
The 2016 election the JLP polled 436,972 votes and the PNP 433,735 making for a total of 882,389 votes but in the 2020 election saw only 712,000 votes cast a stunning fall. The spreading of the COVID virus seems to have had a significant effect of voters, with Public opinion polls conducted a week from the elections, indicating a fall in the decision to vote based on the spread.
IC Insider.com had forecasted that the PNP would pick up around 10 seats, with a few seats that would become marginal that they could go either way. The forecast was based on results of the public opinion polls done by the three local pollsters, Johnson, Anderson and Blue Dot that all forecasted voter results of 58 percent or more for the JLP. Preliminary results show the JLP getting 57.1 percent of the votes to the PNP’s 42.9 percent that was within the margin of error of the polls.
No political party in the history of polling in Jamaica, going back to the 1970s, has had such a lead in public opinion polls a few weeks from the actual election and none with a lead over 6 percent a year from the elections, has lost. Those are daunting statistics that confronted the People National Party as they prepared for the national polls.
While the PNP will need to determine why there was a sharp fall in their support over two elections, the JLP seems to have work to do to find out why with an increase in the voters’ list since 2016 they could not pull out more votes.
The results of the election and public opinion polls, clearly indicate that facts are facts and persons making their views known must take trends over many years that have proven to be correct, seriously and not based their views on gut feelings.

10 seats to win for PNP

Public opinion polls are all out and forecasting a massive victory for the JLP over the PNP, when the votes are tallied on September 3. The polls suggest a range of possible voter support, from 60 percent for the JLP and 40 for the PNP to a high of 68 percent for the JLP and a low of 32 percent for the PNP.
When applied against the 2016 results, the data suggests that the PNP can only rely on getting around 10 seats, with a few others ending up in the marginal column. Even some that appear safe could fall with the massive swing the polls suggest. The swing to the JLP started from around 2014 and started to gather- momentum in 2018 and 2019 as shown by the by-elections results in St Mary and Portland. No doubt, there will be a least one more set of polling data on party standings, that will be released before the start of September that will show if they are any shift in the numbers.
No political party in the history of polling in Jamaica going back to the 1970s has had such a lead in public opinion polls a few weeks from the actual election and none with a lead over 6 percent a year from the elections, has lost. Those are daunting statistics confronting the People National Party as they prepare for the national polls.
The JLP is winning the advertising race by several lengths if advertisements in the newspaper are anything to go by. On Sunday, this week, the JLP had seven full page advertisements in the Sunday Gleaner to just one for the PNP.

Dr. Peter Phillips – President of the PNP

That is a sign of the lopsidedness of the money one side has over the other. This election, will need the advertising in getting out the message far more than at any other election, based on the restrictions on physical campaigning as a result of the Coronavirus spread.

Political parties will not say publicly that they are going to lose, but the magnitude of loss that the PNP is facing is unlikely to be surprising to its leaders. Such leads, choke off badly needed financial help and demoralize party workers and supporters.
All three public opinion polls that showed the political party standings ahead of the 2020 general elections were mainly done in July and show different positions for the parties. They differ quite markedly with a variance of 8 percentage points between the highest and lowest support for each party.
The margin of error of the polls ranges between 2.5% to 3%. Making adjustments for the error factor, plus or minus, could put them all in reach of each other.

JLP set to win a massive victory in the 2020 elections

The Blue Dot Polls numbers are the most conservative of the lot, with 52% for the JLP and 34% for the PNP. The poll represents persons who say they will or maybe voting. On a head to head basis, it translates to JLP winning 60.5% of the votes to the PNP 39.5%, but it could go as high as JLP 64% PNP  36% or as low as 57 percent to 43 percent. The Johnson Polls show that the JLP would win 68 percent of the popular votes to the PNP’s 32 percent, with the possibility that it could range between a high of 73 percent for the JLP to a low of 63 percent and a high of 37 percent for the PNP to a low of 27 percent. Anderson Polls numbers put the JLP at 64 percent and the PNP at 36 percent, with a high of 70 percent, to a low of 59 percent for the JLP and a high of 41 percent for the PNP and a low of 30 percent.

6% one year poll lead secures election win

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The 2020 general elections are called for Thursday, September 3. All three polling institutions releasing polls show a strong lead for the governing JLP, but the PNP are indicating that they will defy the polls and come out victorious. It is worth looking back at public opinion polls that were released one year before elections and match that against the actual election results.
The going back to 1976 shows no political party in Jamaica losing a general election with a lead of more than six percentage points one year out. That a record that is not about to change any time soon.
Public opinion polls are snapshots of the current views or intentions of voters. That is what many would want to believe, but there is more to them than that. Using the Don Anderson and Carl Stone polls, going way back demonstrates the point vividly.
In Jamaica, data shows general elections are won a year out, unless support for parties is close, leading up to the elections. That was the case in the last three general elections. Even then, the last election had the winning party with an eight-percentage point lead, a year out from the 2016 General elections.
In a recent interview on MSNBC, a political expert makes the following the observation, “the records show that presidential elections are won in the spring and not in the fall”. He pointed to the winning candidates defining the losers in the spring and putting them on the defensive from which they never recovered.
He pointed to several instances going back to several past winners of presidential races to support that view. As it now stands, Trump is set to move out of the White House. He is already defined as a highly incompetent leader, amongst other negatives that he is carrying, that are weighing him down.
The vast majority of voters invest a great deal of emotion into supporting a political party. A lot of it comes from family traditions built up over several years. That emotional attachment takes time to establish and is difficult to erode. It just does not happen during a relatively short election period.

Polling data is taken form Stone and Anderson polls where applicable.

Polling data suggest that voters switching party support amounts to around two to three percentage points a year. When polls show that a ten points lead a year out from the general elections, that is a gap that is almost impossible to close. Data going back in Jamaica’s polling history, show that in no general election has any political party with a lead over six percentage points has gone to lose the election. Some may point to the last three general elections, but polls were showing close races from a year out, except for the 2016 elections. That was not the case in 1972, 1976, or 1989.

Peter Phillips leader of the PNP

The Don Anderson polls in December 2014 had the PNP at 17% and JLP at 25%, an eight points difference. In June 2015, it was neck and neck with the PNP 25%, the JLP 26%, in September 29.6% each. In January 2016, it moved to 27.5% for the PNP and 23.2% for the JLP and in February, the PNP was at 30.8% to the JLP’s 28%. The data except for June 2015 was suggesting a close election and it turned out that way, but it confirms that a large lead one year out is difficult to overcome. The 2016 election saw the parties garnering about 25% of the total electorate at the time, that ties in with the JLP numbers roughly a year out.
The Don Anderson polling data in February 2019, had the PNP support at 18% and the JLP at 29%. In February 2020, the PNP support moved to 22% and the JLP to 30% a difference of 8 percentage points. The lead is not one that can be overcome based on history, bearing in mind that if the last general election had just around 48 percent turnout at the polls while the support using the February 2020 polls adds to 52 percent. The bye-elections held in St Mary saw a three percent swing to the JLP and Portland Eastern in 2019 showed a swing of around 10 percent when adjusted for the low turnout in 2016.
The JLP, 30 percent support, shown in Anderson 2020 polls, is not out of line with a definite swing shown in the two bye-elections. If those numbers were to hold, then voter turnout would have to exceed 60 percent, which would require the PNP to gain a surge of more than eight percentage points in what may turn out to be less than a year and or the JLP support falls.
The polling data shows that governments in power have a bias in their favour. Polls tend to overstate the actual support for a governing party and understate that for the opposition. The data over time shows the bias to be around three percentage points for a PNP government and just under two percentage points for a JLP government. What this means is that the real party support is probably PNP 24 percent and JLP 28 percent based on the 2020 polls, that would translate to a JLP 55 percent and PNP 45 percent at the upcoming election. Other surveys done since then by other pollsters suggest more swing to the governing party, but history suggests that they may be understating the support of the PNP by about four percentage points.

Lying to pollsters or bad sampling

Polls conducted by Blue Dot on behalf of Nationwide, raise questions about its credibility. Poll findings on party standings, by both the Blue Dot and the Bill Johnson’s polls done on behalf of Mello TV, are similar in that they put the JLP and PNP on a head to head race at 63 percent to 37 percent basis.
That is not far from the February polls done by Don Anderson that shows the parties effectively at 58 percent to 43 percent, head to head.
The problem with the Blue Dot poll based on information included in the findings illustrates that persons who they interviewed are lying excessively, or the sample used is not computed correctly or executed, leading to biased responses. Either way, some fundamental errors exist, that leave the poll findings with a big credibility problem.
The only data in the poll findings that can be verified and test the accuracy of conclusions is wanting. The Blue Dot polls asked persons who they voted for in the last general elections, 40.17 percent said they voted for the JLP, 31.26 percent for the PNP and 28 percent said they did not vote. That is an amazing finding. That adds up to 85 percent who claimed that they voted, that contrast, with roughly 50 percent of voters on the electoral list adjusted for the removal of dead persons on the list. The Blue Dot findings should be showing that only 25 percent of the voters supporting each political party at the last election, it does not.
In the past, both the Anderson and Johnson polls showed, upwards of 60 percent persons polled indicated they would turn out at the polls, but the actual numbers have fallen well short. A lot of the difference may be due to surveys concentrating on marginal voting areas than the so-called garrison seats where voter turnout is much lower than the rest of the country.
The big question is whether the significant error in answer to the question of who persons voted for is due to persons lying or sampling errors and whether other findings in the polls were accordingly adjusted. A Blue Dot spokesperson indicates that they have not thoroughly analyzed the data but agreed that the response as to the party voted for suggesting that there may be sampling errors that need reviewing.
Adjusting for the error between the votes in the 2016 election and the poll results, put the support for parties at 39 percent for the JLP and 25 percent for the PNP or on a head-to-head basis, 61 percent for the JLP and the PNP at 39 percent.

PNP’s solace from Johnson polls

According to the latest Bill Johnson polls, the Jamaica Labour Party is set to bury the Peoples National Party in the upcoming general elections. Still, the PNP can take some level of comfort in the fact Johnson’s polls are not always spot on in the past, especially far away from an election.  
The latest poll findings by Bill Johnson done for Mello TV, shows the JLP with 38 percent support and the PNP with 19 percent. The gap is vast. If achieved, it would result in a vastly worse political beating in modern times that occurred in the 1980 elections, with 58 percent of the popular votes for the JLP. The above numbers would translate to 67 percent to Labour party compared to a humiliating 33 percent for the PNP, few seats if any, would be left in the hands of the losing party. The 2020 polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.
In 2019, IC Insider.com made the following observation. “According to the Bill Johnson polls, the PNP headed by Peter Phillips will do a better job than Peter 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 words”.
In 2016, ahead of the General elections, Johnson said, “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 then-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. As everyone knows, no such development took place, as the election ended with a narrow defeat for the PNP.

Dr. Peter Phillips – PNP leader

ICInsider.com stated that “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 election, it was under 50 percent.”
In the Eastern Portland by-elections in 2019, when the pollster, Bill Johnson asked constituents which of the two political parties they would vote for if a by-election was held today, 33 percent of respondents said they would definitely mark their ballot for the JLP. Four percent say they probably would vote JLP, while 25 percent said definitely the PNP. Two percent said they would probably vote PNP.
Assuming the JLP got no more votes than those who said they would vote for them and the PNP got the probable ballots as well as the definite obes, the results would have been, JLP 33 percent PNP 27 percent. That would translate to a popular vote count of 55 percent to 45 percent and, therefore, a comfortable victory. The final outturn was a very narrow victory of 51 percent to 49 percent and not the considerable lead the Johnson polls suggested. To be fair to Bill Johnson, the results of the Eastern Portland seat, was within the sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.
Johnson’s latest polls suggest that voter turnout at the election is likely to be 57 percent. That would be much higher than the last general elections of about 50 percent of the voters’ list, culled for dead voters. In 2007, the records show that 61.5 percent of voters list voted 2011 was slightly lower at 52.4 percent, the projected turnout suggest by the Johnson poll numbers may not be that far off. The last point to note is that polls tend to undercount opposition support and inflate that of the governing party, by two to three percentage points.

Nigel Clarke future JLP leader

There is hardly anything that attracts great attention than doling out gifts, when combined with charisma, makes for a potent mix. That is precisely what Nigel Clarke did on Tuesday as he quietly set himself up as a strong candidate as a future leader of the Jamaica Labour Party.

Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance

Tuesday’s presentation was a vast improvement over his 2019 budget, one in terms of delivery. His delivery shows that he has the talent to more people on the campaign trail a considerable advantage for a politician to have. While Clarke will have competition from the likes of popular minister Tufton, minister Montique, he could also face competition from Kamina Johnson-Smith, one that few are looking at but her presentation at the last JLP conference suggests that she has the delivery skills to move people.
Whatever the position, Clarke holds a big trump card over the rest. He is bright, young, articulate and most importantly, controls the country’s purse strings. With an improving economy, he will be handing out goodies annually to voters for quite some time to come. That will cement him as the greatest Minister of Finance the country would have had as the country and people benefit from the improving tax collection and the significant cost savings of the reduction in interest cost from lower interest rates and lower debt.

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?

PNP must abandon socialism or die

The PNP must abandon socialism or suffer a slow near death experience. Those persons within the party who are product of the heady days of the 1970 period will probably rubbish this view, but facts are pointing clearly in that direction.
An analysis of voting pattern since the 1980s is very clear new voters are embracing the JLP in larger numbers than the PNP, the change started after the huge swing to the PNP in the 1970 with the enhanced focus on democratic socialism. Young persons out of school especially UWI, were mesmerized by Michael Manley’s oratory and charisma and overwhelmingly gave the PNP their full support. Back then, the PNPYO, the Social Development Commission and the National Youth Service programs were three of the top entities pushing the social agenda to young people.
Left with empty shelves and mass migration of the middle class, the children of the 70s and 80s have not embraced the PNP the way their parents did. Increasingly, the post 1960 children look to North America as the standard fueled by the advent of the ubiquitous Cable Television and computers beaming capitalistic policies daily.

Dr. Peter Phillips – President of the PNP

Today’s young adults many who are schooled in North America or spent several holidays there have no real love for Socialism and that is showing up in the voting pattern. In the 1970s the local stock market is estimated to have had around 10,000 investors owning stocks directly, today that number have climbed to well over 120,000 around 15 percent of the persons who voted in 2016, with younger persons flocking to the market like never before and this growth trend will continue. That is another example of the switch in the political landscape. Those are reasons why the voting pattern is showing the Labour Party increasing their vote tally sharply over the PNP. That trend shows up in the Eastern Portland election now and in the past. Although there were 2,000 new voters on the list than in 2016, the PNP only received around 25 percent to the JLP’s 75 percent.
Except for a few seats, the PNP is fast becoming a minority party. Up to the 1970s the party, dominated St James and St Ann areas that the JLP could only win 1 seat in each, now they hold a minority and where they win its marginal, except for Lisa Hanna’s seat. The picture is the same in St Mary, with the PNP having only one seat in that parish where they used to have two solid seats. They used to dominate the corporate area, but now primarily holds just the seats bordering on the waterfront, with the exception of two.
If the party does not radically change its policies, it will take a long time for them to swing the majority of young persons to support them in the long-term, by then a lot of their current support will pass on, thus reducing them to a minority party country wide.
Christopher Burns writing in Jamaica Observer after the 2016 elections set out a detailed assessment of the trends of voting between 1993 and 2016. The details are one that we of IC Insider wrote about some time ago and reported in Investors Choice.
Burns stated “a review of the voting pattern between 1993 and 2016 reveals a few interesting findings as far as votes for the PNP are concerned, vis-Ã -vis votes for the JLP. In the 1993 General Election, of the 678,572 votes cast, the PNP received 401,476 (59.2 percent) to the JLP’s 263,472 (38.83 percent).’ The PNP received 138,274 or 20.38 percent more votes than the JLP.”
“Over the six general elections (1993 – 2016) the PNP, in 2016, netted only 31,989 more votes than it did in 1993, while the JLP netted 173,500 more than it did in 1993.” “The PNP received high vote counts between 1993 and 2007, but “its highest vote performance in 2011, produced roughly 62,318 or 15.51 percent more votes than it did in 1993. However, even though the JLP lost the 2011 General Election, its 2011 vote performance produced 142,448 (54.07 percent) more votes than in 1993.”
“In the  2016 elections, the JLP received 436,972 votes, while the PNP secured 433,735, from the 2016 voters list of eligible voters that grew by 176,376 or 10.70 percent over 2011, the PNP received 30,329 (6.54 percent) fewer votes than it got in 2011. The JLP increased its 2016 votes by 31,052 (7.65 percent) over 2011.”
There are a number of developments that suggest that the Labour Party support has grown since 2016, while that of the PNP has not. The Eastern Portland seat by-election represented a 4.5 percent swing from the 2011 election results. The 2011 election is a better base to use than the 2016 results that went against the general swing of that election. Public opinion polls suggest that the current swing nationally, is much greater than 4.5 percent. The performance of the stock market, business and consumer confidence levels that are all at record highs, point to a margin that is in excess of what the swing is in East Portland based on the 2011 results.
The PNP needs to change strategies and many of its policies. It needs to be articulating a cohesive set of policies that can appeal to the younger generation and there are a series of issues that they can focus on that can set them apart from the JLP government.

How the east was won?

Annmarie Vaz winner of the East Portland seat.

Anne Marie Vaz increased her party’s support by a stunning 58 percent, over the JLP’s haul in the 2016 General Election to win the East Portland by-election on Thursday with just 11 votes less than 10,000.
At the same time, Damion Crawford only pulled out 5 percent more votes than was polled for the PNP, in 2016. The story gets increasing bad for the PNP and it is not just in this election. The writing was on the wall for years but poor candidature, by the JLP lent the view to many onlookers, that East Portland was safe PNP territory. The 2007, results with the PNP winning by less than 800 votes, should have sent a clear warning to them that things were changing rapidly.
In this latest election, the number of new voters on the list, grew by 5.6 percent, but Crawford’s increase of 4.8 percent was less than the rise in registered voters. Looked at differently, he picked up just 354 votes more than in the 2011 elections or only 3.8 percent more. On a net basis, he garnered only approximately 25 percent of new voters, while Vaz got 75 percent. This is consistent with a pattern seen island wide since 1993 and is one that is not likely to change, anytime soon.
The Labour party was able to get out their 8,000 voters of 2011 and add 24 percent more voters to it, in addition to commandeering the vast majority of new voters, the vote tally at the end of the preliminary count suggests.
The results on the surface is a major about turn for the seat. Closer examination of the numbers for a longer period tells a clear tale. The huge 2019 increase is due to a below performance for the JLP in the 2016 elections, when the votes by the party sank by a hefty 22 percent and  well against the national trend. The trend since the 1993 elections, suggests that the natural growth in party support should have seen them polling over 9,700 votes, just below the numbers she got in the latest polls.
The data also points out that the trend is indicating that the JLP should have polled around 2,000 more votes than they did, this time around.  Those voters are there in their corner based on the growth in support, reflected in the average gains in votes cast in prior elections. This bit of information is also reflected in public opinion voting survey data.