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.

Be a sceptic of constituency polls

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Damion Crawford propective PNP Candidate

Ann Marie Vaz JLP propective Candidate

Observation of public polls for individual constituencies published in the past, show them to be unreliable, although they may well point in the right direction in some cases.
In the 2016 general election, the East Portland seat, had just 44 percent of registered voters casting votes, ranking it as one of the lowest rural area voter turnout. The low out turn suggests a high level of dissatisfaction with the parties’ representatives. The PNP picked up 57 percent of the votes to the JLP’s 42 percent in that election, a wider gap than in 2011 that move contrary to the swing in overall general elections.
There is no way that there will be a voter turnout near 100 percent. The St Mary by-election in 2017 saw a 3 percent swing away from the PNP to the JLP with 61.4 voter turn-out up from 60 percent in the general elections. With much focus placed by both political parties on the Portland seat, a turned out 60 percent is not unexpected, although that may be a tough target to reach.
Two polls have been put out, one showing a PNP victory and one a JLP victory but both can’t be right. In the 2016 general elections, some public political commentators rubbished the polls done by the Trinidadian firm showing a JLP victory while all local polls projected a PNP victory. One would be foolish to disregard the polls done by the Barbados entity showing a massive PNP victory. The data put out in the Jamaica Observer Sunday edition, suggests some major flaws in the date reported on. The numbers for Crawford at 53 percent and Vaz at 27 percent will not happen. That would result in a 80 percent voter turn-out, assuming that none of those persons who did not respond to the pollster, in fact vote. If the assumption is that no more than 60 percent of the electorate will vote then the turn out will be approximately 21,000. A 53 percent take would result in the PNP garnering 11,100 votes with the JLP having just under 10,000. The historical voting pattern suggests that Crawford is very unlikely to pick up that level of support. A 53 to 27 percent support for both parties would result in the winner getting 66 percent of the votes and the loser 34 percent and would represent a massive swing to the PNP of 8 percent and signal major trouble for the JLP and a solidification of Peter Phillips as head of the PNP. When all the issues are factored in, it looks like the support for the PNP is no more than 33 percent or just over 11,000 electorates if the turn out can rise to 60 percent, which is consistent with the results of the last two General elections.
The Jamaica Observer Polls commissioned polls show the JLP with a lead of 37 percent to the PNP’s 27. Such results would translate to a margin of victory of 58 percent to 42 percent and a major about turn in the constituency. Assuming a 60 percent voters turnout it would mean that the JLP would pick up 12,100 votes and the PNP 9,000 votes or just a tad more than they gained in 2016.
Data shows the JLP doing a far better job of getting out voters after the 1993 elections, except for 2016 when their vote numbers fell by 22 percent to a decline of 8 percent for the PNP and in 2011 when the PNP voter rate was higher than the JLP’s. From a gap of 3,300 in 1997, the Labour party reduced it to just 795 in 2007 and 1,246 in 2011 but saw the gap widen, with much less votes in 2016, with a margin of 2,276 votes. This change was opposite to general trend of a swing to the Labour party in 2016 island wide.
Historical trend suggests the likelihood of a close result, but whichever party can mobilize voters to get the out turn back to the traditional level of 60 percent, will win.

$1m for 2016, $1.5m in 2017

Minister of Finance Audley Shaw should announce a $1m plan for 2016 and $1.5m for 2017 in his budget presentation today.

Minister of Finance Audley Shaw should announce a $1m plan for 2016 and $1.5m for 2017 in his budget presentation today.

The promise by the JLP to make earnings of PAYE individuals up $1.5 million, tax free has undergone much discussions as to the feasibility for it to be funded. Few commentaries have focused on the growing revenues of the government and the reality that revenues tend to increase in line with nominal GDP growth.
At the same time, interest cost on the government debt, will decline as interest rates fall, notwithstanding the increased amount in the budget this time around for interest. The increase is to accommodate the interest on the Petrocaribe Fund debt which will be recovered from the Fund.
Interestingly, former Prime Minister Bruce Golding and an active participant in the 2016 election campaign for the JLP gave a speech in April in which he suggested that the implementation should be done to maintain simplicity and equity in the system. He made two proposals. The more important one was for an across the board threshold of $1 million. It would appear that Golding was testing the waters for a modification in the $1.5 million plan at least initially, that would have affected only some on the PAYE system.
Jamaicans should get the news that for 2016 the PAYE threshold will be $1 million, with it going to $1.5 million during 2017. It is unclear if the $1.5 million will be across the board or not. But with tax reform to be implemented probably in 2017, it seems as if it will be an across the board threshold.

JLP win pollsters blew it – election 2016

JLP man -2-16The Jamaica Labour Party won the general elections after a number of polls and forecast called it for the governing Peoples National Party. Two groups that the public is not used to for forecasting elections made a fool of themselves, suggesting the PNP would win at least 40 seats.
According to the university forecasters, the PNP chance of winning the election was down from 60 percent to 56 percent, since the refusal of the party to participate in the election debates. The forecast done by Dr Christopher Charles and Gleasha Reid was laughable when viewed against other facts and historical trends. For one, pollsters that have had a fairly good track record were pointing to, at best, a close election victory for the PNP, in what looked like a close race. One pollster out of Trinidad, did get the marginal seats right, when the polls they did showed a strong swing to the JLP.
The results of the 2016 election, is a clear indication that polls reflect the position at the time the poll is taken and does not necessarily forecast future outcome. The poll that the PNP seemed to have used to call the election, did not reflect the real party standing. IC Insider suggested, that past polls have always reflected an incumbency bias, as high as 5 percent, ahead of the actual official election period, this is pretty much what happened as the January polls by Anderson had the PNP at 27.5 percent and the JLP at 23.2 percent. When the JLP’s support is adjusted by the 5 percent, it placed both parties in a dead heat with a slight lead for the JLP. The polls show that both parties lost active support since September last year. The December polls show that the PNP lost 2 percentage points and the JLP a much larger 6.4 percentage points, taking the latter below the core position held from 2014 to June, of 25 percent.
About the January polls, IC Insider said “If the latest poll numbers were to hold come election day, the PNP would end up with about 54 percent to 46 percent for the JLP of the votes, on a head to head race, which would put the PNP slightly ahead of the 2011 election, when they took 53.40 percent of the votes, to the JLP 46.60 percent.
Interestingly, while the Anderson polls were pointing to a big win for the PNP, RJR News carried on their website, a story of a then recent canvass done buy the PNP in which Paul Burke says they are sure to win 32 seats, with 10 of the rest they have in doubt.
RJR News has obtained a copy of the report which outlines that the Party is sure of winning 32 of the 63 Parliamentary seats. Of the remaining 10 seats from the 42 which were won by the PNP in 2011, two are deemed at risk of being lost and eight have been declared hard to win”. This information does not reflect an outcome as indicated by Anderson polls.
There are a number of lessons from election 2016. Polls by themselves need to be examined against prevailing as well as past developments, to ensure they are in keeping with what the results are indicating. Events may take place that change the direction of the likely outcome, this is what may have happened this time around.
The polls showing the JLP at 25 percent of the electorate seem to suggest a solid base support, that is why IC Insider posted the need for the election turnout to be higher than 50 percent for the PNP to win. IC Insider had pointed out that the pollsters have never gotten the voter turnout right the question this time, with potential votes around 59 percent, it seems that the usual 15-20 percent difference was a bit too high.

PNP needs over 50% turnout to win

PortiaAn analysis of poll numbers since 2014 and the number of eligible voters suggest that Thursday’s general elections in Jamaica could result in a shocker and a major shift in parliament. For the People National Party to win the 2016 elections will require voter turn out to be more than 50 percent.
Polls done from late 2014 puts the Labour Party support consistently at 25 percent except for the temporary decline shown in the Don Anderson polls in January to 23.2 percent when political activity was low keyed. Based on error factors in past polls, the base for the JLP is around 28 percent which is consistent with polls done in 2015 that would give them 510,835 votes. This would be an increase of 105,677 over the 405,000 votes they received in 2011 and well over the 464,280 the PNP got then.
The increase for the Labour Party works out at an average of 1,682 votes per constituency and is likely to create a major change in the seat count. It is more difficult to say what the PNP numbers will work out at in the end but it should be at least close to their numbers for the last election. It is difficult to see voter turnout of 53 percent in the 2011 being exceeded by much if at all, which would put the PNP support at 25 percent of the electorate or a few thousand votes less than in 2011.
If the PNP does not increase their support by much, they will be relegated to the back benches of Parliament after Thursday’s polls.

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.

Election 2016 who will win PNP or JLP?

PNP & JLP supportersPolling in Jamaica has gone from an exercise that a vast number of Jamaicans found to be incredible, questioning how a small sample of just 1,000 persons could be used to predict pretty accurately, the views of an entire population? Based on the accuracy over the years in forecasting election results, the vast majority, seem to have put their faith in them.
But when it comes to politics emotions run deep and there are mood swings as well. Take the polls since late 2014, the Don Anderson polls showed the following results:Anderson polls 2014-15
The most recent poll show the PNP at 27.5% and the JLP at 23.2%, effectively the polls show that both parties lost active support since September last year. The PNP lost 2 percentage points and the JLP a much larger 6.4 percentage points, taking the latter below the core position held from 2014 to June of 25%. If the latest polls number were to hold come election day, the PNP would end up with about 54% to 46% for the JLP of the votes, on a head to head race which would put the PNP slightly ahead of the 2011 when they took 53.40% of the votes to the JLP 46.60%.
What is rather interesting is that RJR carried on their website a story of a recent canvass done buy the PNP in which Paul Burke says they are sure to win 32 seats, with 10 of the rest they have in doubt.
“RJR News has obtained a copy of the report which outlines that the Party is sure of winning 32 of the 63 Parliamentary seats. Of the remaining 10 seats from the 42 which were won by the PNP in 2011, two are deemed at risk of being lost and eight have been declared hard to win”. This information does not reflect an outcome as indicated by Anderson polls.
Analysis of the stock market show that it is a good indicator a year out from elections, for the party likely to win, in this case the market is suggesting the PNP. The recent polls are not convincingly showing that.
Eddie Seaga and supportersHistory is a useful guide. There is a tendency for polls to pick up incumbency support and less of opposition support. Carl Stone in an article written in 1981 stated that his polls prior to the 1980 election showed the JLP with 56% of the votes which was 3% points lower than the outcome of 59% of the votes cast that the JLP got compared to 41 % PNP. More importantly, a poll done in the summer months showed the polls narrowing from around 54% for the JLP to about 51% with the PNP seeming to have momentum with 49%. The situation between the two polls was fairly similar to late 2015 onwards where activity by one party seemed to have been more low-keyed, than the other.
A poll released by Anderson in early Oct 2002 showed the PNP with support amongst 54.4% of voters and the JLP with 45.3% but the outcome was PNP 51.5% and the JLP 46.9% a 5% point bias towards the governing party. In the last polls before the election in 2002 had the PNP at 52.3% to the JLP’s 46.9% still a slight bias towards the PNP but only marginally so. Between June 2007 and late July the poll had an incumbency bias of 4.8 percent to a low of 2.68 percent, the polls prior to the actual election ended with only a 0.30 percent bias in favour of the labour party. In the 2011 elections all Anderson polls from May up to the elections had a bias of 1.7% or less in favour of the JLP who were then in government.
What is also of interest, is that the poll numbers showed that the PNP slipped to 17% in the Anderson polls in December 2014 and has made a major recovery since. The JLP had a low of 15.9 % back in May 2011 and recovered much of the lost ground in polls taken after.
PNPManifestoThe 2007 polls make for interesting reading as it is one of the times when a party trailing prior to the election actually end up winning. In February 2007 the PNP trailed the labour party by 1 percentage point at 26% to 27%, in April the PNP pulled ahead with 25% to 23% in May it was 25% each way, by June it showed the PNP with a 4 percentage points lead at 29% to 25%. A second poll in June, showed the PNP moving ahead with 30.70% and the JLP barely keeping up at 25.60%. July saw a change, with the gap closing, but with the PNP ahead with 32.8% and the JLP at 29.3 percent at the end of July the PNP garnered 38.8 percent of voters support and the JLP was at 35.3% and the last one in August placed the PNP at 40.3% and JLP with 41.3%.
Will the 2016 polls closer to the election date narrow? History seems to support that view but time will tell and by how much. What is also of interest will be the turnout of voters. In the 2011 elections, turnout was 52.76 percent, if that were to happen this time it would result in a total of 93,047 votes over the level in 2011, raising the total to 962,485. If the Anderson’s latest polls numbers are close to accurate, there would only be about 2 percentage more points that either party could pick up based on the above, but the latest voters list is 10.7 percent higher than the 2011 one with an additional 176,374 voters or 20 percent of persons who voted in 2011.