Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 29th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 28TH APRIL, 2015
A Louis Bertrand poll of the Tunapuna con-
stituency commissioned by Guardian Media
Limited shows the constituency could be
trending back to the People s National Move-
ment (PNM) for the upcoming general elec-
According to the results of the poll, a third
of potential voters have yet to decide whether
to participate, and the leaders of the PNM and
People s Partnership (PP) are close in terms of
personal approval rating, with 35 per cent
approving of Kamla Persad-Bissessar to hold
the office of Prime Minister and 36 per cent
favouring Dr Rowley, a statistically insignificant
However, the percentage gap leaps to 12 points
in Rowley s favour when those who rate the
leaders prospects for PM as "acceptable with
reservations" are factored in.
Approval of the performance of Persad-
Bissessar as Prime Minister and Rowley as
Leader of the Opposition (62 per cent) shows
that Rowley has moved ahead in terms of
approval rating (50 per cent).
Rowley has never served in the capacity of
prime minister and Persad-Bissessar is com-
pleting her first five-year term.
About 300 adults were interviewed in the
marginal constituency, now represented by
Government MP Winston Dookeran.
Tunapuna electors are, however, sceptical
about the two major parties ability to effectively
solve the major problems affecting them, which
include crime, unemployment, corruption,
health care and rising prices.
The findings reveal that "for all issues but
healthcare, the (Rowley-led) PNM is seen as
best able among those who named a political
Another interesting finding of the poll was
that 67 per cent of those interviewed were likely
to vote in the general election, 14 per cent were
unlikely to, and 19 per cent were undecided.
The Bertrand poll found that the electors in
Tunapuna also "do not have a particularly good
opinion" of their veteran MP, Foreign Affairs
Minister Dookeran. It showed that as much as
54 per cent of electors in the constituency did
not even know who their MP was. Of those
who did, "27 per cent have a favourable opinion
of him as an MP," the poll said.
Up to 2007, the PNM had represented Tuna-
puna in Parliament. In that year, Dookeran
became MP on a Congress of the People (COP)
ticket. He was the leader of the then one-year-
old party, which came to power as part of the
People s Partnership in 2010.
Rowley s PNM has been the only party to
approve a candidate for Tunapuna. He is
The People s Partnership is expected to screen
its candidate for Tunapuna and other con-
stituencies after the election date has been
The poll sought to find out whether, given
its marginal nature, Tunapuna residents were
largely partisan or non-partisan with respect
to the main political parties.
To illuminate this issue, it asked those sampled
if in general they leaned toward a particular
Fifty-five per cent admitted to favouring one
party over the other. Of the 55 per cent who
would admit to partisan leanings, a large majority
favoured the PNM.
See full poll results at www.elections.tt
Voting patterns in Trinidad have tended
to indicate that 33 of the 39 constituencies
are relatively safe seats for either the Peo-
ple s National Movement (PNM) or the
United National Congress (UNC).
That means there are six seats that will
determine the fate of the 2015 general elec-
tions, which all the polls so far predict will
With a view to getting the pulse of the
six marginal seats, Guardian Media Ltd hired
renowned pollster Louis Bertrand to conduct
face-to-face surveys in these make-or-break
constituencies, which are similar in that they
comprise electors of both of T&T s major
ethnicities, often in almost equal numbers
and that have swung from one party to the
next over the years.
GML gets the ball rolling with Tunapuna,
which Bertrand describes as the "most volatile
of the constituencies."
Going back 20 years, the marginality of
the Tunapuna constituency is clear.
In the 1995 general election, the PNM s
Eddie Hart won the constituency by a margin
of 3.37 per cent, gaining 7,467 votes to the
7,223 electors who voted for the UNC s Hector
Of the 15,225 votes cast, Hart won by 244
votes, which was 1.6 per cent of the votes
cast in that election.
In the 2000 election, which the UNC won
by 19 seats to the PNM s 16 with one for the
National Alliance for Reconstruction, the
UNC s Mervyn Assam took the seat from
Hart by a margin of 3.8 per cent.
Some 9,062 people voting for Assam and
8,726 voting for Hart. That s 336 votes out
of 17,985 people casting their ballots.
In the controversial 2001 election, which
ended in an 18-18 dead heat between the
PNM and the UNC,the margin between the
winner and the loser was even narrower.
The PNM s Hart received 8,792 votes, win-
ning the seat from the UNC s Assam, who
got 8,538 votes, by a margin of 2.9 per cent
or 254 votes.
Even in the 2002 general election, which
the PNM won comfortably by 20 seats to
the UNC s 16, Hart won the constituency
by a margin of 6.5 per cent.
Some 10,154 people voted for Hart, who
edged out former CL Financial executive
Carlos John by 624 votes.
In 2007, Esther Le Gendre, who received
8,494 votes, won the seat for the PNM by
a wide margin over Clyde Weatherhead of
the Congress of the People, for whom 4,182
people cast their vote.
But in that general election, Weatherhead
ran against both the PNM and the UNC s
Christine Newallo-Hosein, who is currently
the Minister of the People.
Had the UNC and the COP presented one
Partnership loses ground
Tunapuna always a tough race to call
candidate, they still would not have won as together
they would have polled 8,168 votes, which would
have fallen short of Le Gendre by 3.9 per cent.
In 2010, when the country voted against former
Prime Minister Patrick Manning, the margin of victory
for Winston Dookeran was the widest in the six elec-
tions since 1995.
Dookeran got 10,466 votes, a 28 margin over the
PNM s Le Gendre, who received 8,149 votes.
At the end of the day, while Tunapuna is a marginal
constituency, there are clearly marginal polling stations
within that constituency.
One such is the four polling divisions in the St
Augustine Secondary School polling station, on the
corner of Gordon and Warren Streets, St Augustine.
Mainly a middle-to-upper middle income seat,
with voters from Santa Margarita, it went PNM with
682 votes to the UNC s 653.
The COP s Clyde Weathehead beat the PNM s Le
Gendre in that polling station by a margin of 600 to
586 votes. Newallo-Hosein got another 343 votes in
that polling station.
Most Tunapuna electors were sceptical about
the ability of any of the parties to solve the
major problems of the day - most didn't know.
For all issues but health care, the PNM was
seen as best able to deal with problems
among those who named a political party.
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