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Supporters for the United National Congress and People’s National Movement hug each other as they crossed paths during a walkabout in El Dorado, Tunapuna, recently.

SHALIZA HASSANALI

Voters in the Tunapuna constituency consider the People’s National Movement (PNM) the party best capable of solving their problems, according to a recent HHB and Associates Ltd poll led by pollster Louis Bertrand.

The poll, commissioned by Guardian Media, is one of six marginal constituencies reviewed by the firm leading up to the August 10 General election.

In yesterday’s T&T Guardian, the first segment of the poll found that PNM Tunapuna candidate Esmond Forde was ahead of UNC contender and former professional footballer David Nakhid by a 16 per cent margin in the tussle for the marginal seat. The poll’s margin of error is six per cent.

Face to face interviews were conducted on 200 registered voters in the constituency on issues-ranging from major issues influencing the vote, party best capable of solving problems, general progress of country and people, performance in the constituency (PNM) and (UNC), assessment of candidates, opinions of candidates, reasons for the ratings, voting intentions and voter switching patterns.

Tunapuna, situated along the east-west corridor, is a marginal constituency with 26,650 registered voters. The seat, which has been mainly dominated by the PNM over the years, has changed hands several times.

Examining the final part of the poll, respondents were asked to identify which party they thought was best capable of solving problems.

“In this constituency, the PNM is seen as the party most capable of solving virtually all of the problems,” the poll stated.

Among some of the problems identified were education, housing, utilities, health care, reopening of the economy, COVID-19 and youth training and development, which scored ratings between 35 to 52 per cent.

Respondents gave the UNC a 32 per cent rating for “education”, which was their highest score among the entire listing.

Comparing their lives now to five years ago, 27 per cent of voters reported they were personally worse off, 38 per cent claimed their personal situation had not changed and 35 per cent stated they are better off.

Regarding the performance in the constituency, the PNM captured a 41 per cent “good” rating to the UNC’s 14 per cent. However, 48 per cent of voters rated the UNC’s performance as “bad” compared to the PNM’s 33 per cent.

Among the major issues that were likely to influence their votes, respondents identified health care (98 per cent), unemployment (96 per cent) and youth training and development (96 per cent) as most important.

The issues of illegal Venezuelan immigrants (70 per cent), reopening of the economy (68 per cent) and letting foreign nationals come home (59 per cent) were last on the list.

Poll’s methodology

A sample of 200 registered electors were drawn from the constituency. The polling divisions (PDs) were grouped by loyalty to the UNC/PNM. Loyal PDs were identified as those in which the winning party had a difference from the loser of 15 per cent or greater. All other PDs were deemed to be “marginal.”

This allowed HHB and Associates to select smaller samples from “loyal” polling divisions and larger samples from “marginal” divisions.

The demographic characteristics of the sample with respect to age, gender, race and religion reflect the pollster’s estimate of the characteristics of the constituency as a whole.