-- finds low support for coalition
AN OPINION survey in July by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) shows current Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader Raphael Trotman is more popular than its Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan among potential voters for next year’s general elections. The poll, however, did not find much support for a `big tent’ coalition of opposition parties for the elections.
It found that former Chairman of the main opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Winston Murray, is the front runner to lead a possible opposition coalition.
Pollster Vishnu Bisram said, “Mr. Murray faces close competition from…Trotman, former Elections Chairman Joe Singh, and PNCR Leader Robert Corbin to lead a coalition.”
“However, the idea of a big tent coalition has generated lukewarm support among voters, garnering less political support than if the parties were to contest the elections as separate entities. People say the internal contradictions among the various parties and leadership egos make it impractical for the parties to come together as a unit, and that even if they succeed in uniting, the tent will soon collapse because of personality conflict”, Bisram said.
NACTA is a New York-based polling group that says it has no affiliation to any political party. It has been conducting polls regularly in Guyana for more than two decades.
Last July’s poll was conducted to find out opinion on several contemporary issues. The survey randomly interviewed 980 likely voters to yield a demographically representative sample (45% Indians, 30% Africans, 15% Mixed, 9% Amerindians, 1% Others) of the population. The poll was carried out by several interviewers in face-to-face contact and was coordinated by Bisram. The results of the poll were analyzed at a 95 per cent significance level and a statistical sampling error of plus or minus 3% was found.
Bisram said that based on the findings, people are not very confident that any party will get a majority of votes at the next election, suggesting the victorious party may need the help of post-election coalition partners to cobble together a majority in Parliament.
“However, voters said that whether a party gets a majority depends largely on its candidate. It is felt that the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) is more likely to get a majority than any of the other parties or a big tent coalition”, he said.
Asked if they expect any party to get more than 50% support at the next election, 43% said “yes,” with 41% saying “no” and 16% saying “not sure.” Almost everyone agrees that the PPP stands a better chance of getting a majority than any other party and that its presidential candidate will determine how much support it garners.
Asked if they would like to see the opposition forces come together under a big tent to challenge the PPP as being promoted by some politicians, 37% said yes with 48% saying no and 15% offering no response.