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Workers from WASA’s Pipeline Maintenance Department fix a leaking line along Independence Avenue, San Fernando, in May.

SHALIZA HASSANALI

Poor public utilities and unemployment would have a major influence on voters as to which political party they would support in the August 10 general election.

While these two matters were identified as “very important” to electors, corruption, on the other hand, was the least of their concerns.

The findings were contained in a recent poll undertaken by H.H.B & Associates Limited whose managing director Louis Bertrand is a national pollster.

The firm was commissioned by Guardian Media to conduct two surveys-the first a national poll while the other focused on six marginal constituencies leading up to the general election.

Respondents were questioned on several issues – which included their interest in the election, major issues influencing their votes, the party capable of solving problems, the general progress of the country and people, performance in running the country, favourability ratings of key political leaders, comparative rating as prime minister, party image and voting intentions.

The first part of the national poll was highlighted in the Sunday Guardian which showed that the People’s National Movement (PNM) was slightly ahead of the United National Congress (UNC) in the election race.

The survey also found that 35 per cent of respondents support the PNM and 29 per cent the UNC.

Also, 40 per cent of respondents stated that they were not bothered about who wins next month’s elections, while 30 per cent reported they were worse off today than five years ago.

In yesterday’s T&T Guardian, the survey also showed a near statistical tie in the ratings of PNM’s leader Dr Keith Rowley and head of the UNC Kamla Persad-Bissessar in terms of who would make a better Prime Minister leading up to the election.

Details of the poll will conclude in the T&T Guardian tomorrow.

In further examining the poll, “respondents were asked to indicate how important 14 issues were in influencing who they would vote for.”

Respondents were questioned on utilities (water and lights) unemployment/jobs, youth training and development, road maintenance/repairs, health care, education, prices/inflation, COVID-19, crime, housing, economy, drugs, public transport and corruption.

Bertrand used a five-point scale in this category, where the value of “one” indicated that the item was “very important” and a value “five” indicated that the item was “not at all important”.

The average score was determined for each issue.

Bertrand pointed out that the average scores close to “one” meant that the items are “very important” and those close to “two” are deemed to be “important.”

Under “utilities (water and lights),” voters gave a score of 1.31

“unemployment/jobs” also received the same 1.31 rating.

Trailing was “youth training and development” with a score of 1.38, while “road maintenance/repairs”, “health care”, “education” and “prices/inflation” were 1.39, 1.42, 1.43 and 1.46 respectively.

The issue of “COVID-19” attained a score of 1.5

“Crime” followed with 1.54, “housing” -1.59, “economy” – 1.61, “drugs” -1.84, “public transport” -1.85 and last on the listing was “corruption” with 2.02.

The poll reported that “poor public utilities and unemployment are the two most important issues. Notably, corruption though “important” is in the last ratings.” (See Table 3)

With regards to which political party has been capable of solving the problems, the PNM topped in the handling the “COVID-19” pandemic attaining 68 per cent compared to the UNC’s 12 per cent.

In the area of “corruption”, the PNM received 36 per cent to the UNC’s 19 per cent.

Under “crime,” the PNM walked away with 35 per cent while the UNC obtained 25 per cent.

The PNM also edged out the UNC in the handling of the “economy” capturing 38 per cent to the UNC’s 28 per cent.

In the areas of “drugs” and “housing” the PNM gained the upper hand attaining 35 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.

The UNC attracted 20 and 28 per cent respectively in solving these problems.

The other parties received a rating between one to four per cent.

Bertrand said the party best capable of solving the problems “the PNM does best on COVID-19, public transportation, youth training and development and health care.”

The UNC, Bertrand said, “does best on road maintenance/repairs capturing 36 per cent to the PNM’s 31 per cent,” Bertrand said.

The poll stated there was “no statistically significant difference between the PNM and the UNC with respect to utilities, education, inflation and unemployment.” (See Table 4)