September 29, 2016

NACTA Poll: Mixed views on budget & govt performance

Dear Editor,
There are mixed views on the recently debated budget, economy, and government according to an ongoing opinion survey being conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA).
Opinions are divided mostly along ethnic and political lines with APNU supporters praising the budget and performance of the government while opposition supporters are critical of the government and its policies.
Almost everyone is complaining about the state of the economy saying it has been stagnant or declining since the change of government last May.
The findings of the continuous poll are based on interviews through Friday of some 1155 eligible voters (43 per cent Indians, 30 per cent Africans, 17 per cent Mixed, 9 per cent Amerindians and 1 per cent others) reflecting the demographics of the population. The poll, being conducted by Dr Vishnu Bisram, interviewed people at random. The sample was analysed at a 95 per cent significance level with a margin of error of 3 per cent for the findings.
Asked if they approve of the budget, 53 per cent said yes with 41 per cent saying no and 6 per cent not offering an opinion.  Asked who impressed the most on the budget debate, Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge led the rating on the government side, followed by Attorney General Basil Williams, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of the Presidency Joe Harmon, and Finance Minister Winston Jordan. On the opposition side, voters felt Bharath Jagdeo was the most impressive respondent followed by Irfaan Ali, Gail Texeira, Clement Rohee, Anil Nandlall, Dr Frank Anthony, and Priya Manickchand.
Queried on the closure of Wales Sugar Estate, a whopping 62 per cent is opposed to the government’s move to close the factory with 27 per cent supportive of it and 11 per cent not offering an opinion.
Interviews with adults living on West Bank and West Coast Demerara area find 98 per cent (including almost every APNU/AFC supporter) opposed to the closure of the estate with people worried about their economic future.
Almost everyone feels the greater Wales area will become a ghost town with serious social and economic problems if the estate is closed. They urge the government to reconsider the decision to close the factory.
Asked if they are satisfied with the performance of the government, 43 per cent give it a thumbs up with 51 per cent giving it negative rating.
The approval rating of the performance of David Granger as President is 49 per cent with a disapproval rating of 46 per cent. Even though many disapprove of the President’s performance, they describe Granger as personable and approachable, but they are disappointed that he is not taking actions to stimulate the economy and end what they feel is political and racial victimisation.
The approval rating of the performance of Moses Nagamootoo as Prime Minister is 46 per cent with a disapproval rating of 50 per cent. The supporters of PPP and AFC (particularly farmers and rural dwellers) are disappointed that he has not stood up for them on the closure of Wales, the price of rice, and perceived racial victimisation.
The performance approval rating of Bharath Jagdeo as Opposition Leader is 48 per cent with a disapproval rating of 46 per cent. Jagdeo is enormously popular among PPP supporters.
The findings show voters are polarised along ethnic and political lines on the approval rating of the government, President, Prime Minister, and Opposition Leader.
The poll also queried voters on a number of other issues. The findings will be released in a subsequent report.

Yours truly,
Vishnu Bisram

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