It seems opinion polls are playing a more important role
in the politics of T&T as election draws closer.
The Sunday Guardian/Ansa McAl poll, the North American
Caribbean Teachers Association (Nacta) and the so-called
secret poll conducted by Jamaican Bill Johnson on the
performance of PNM MPs have all been topics of discussion
in the past few weeks.
Today, the Sunday Guardian/Ansa McAl poll (see page 40)
has given political leader of the Congress of the People
(COP) Winston Dookeran a two percentage point lead over
Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
Respondents were asked who they would support as prime
minister if an election was called. This will no doubt
be a hot topic as COP holds its anniversary rally in Woodford
Square, Port-of-Spain, today.
But a question like the one above might give certain people
a false sense of security, political analyst Dr Bishnu
Ragoonath said yesterday.
The UWI, St Augustine, lecturer said if many people supported
a particular individual as prime minister, it would not
necessarily mean he would become prime minister.
Ragoonath said that based on T&Ts system of
government, a prime minister must first win his seat at
elections and also be the leader of a political party
or the MP whom the majority of MPs supported as prime
Dookeran may come out ahead in such a poll, because he
is supposedly clean and a man of integrity, but the larger
and more important question is whether the COP would win
more seats than the PNM, or even the UNC, when an election
is called, he said.
The Nacta poll was heavily criticised by the COP when
the polls latest study found that the party would
not win a single seat in the next general election unless
it entered into some arrangement with the United National
The director of Nacta, Vishnu Bisram, has responded to
criticism in todays paper (see page 25).
Ragoonath said polls were snapshots at a particular point
in time, and as such they were not something to rely on
as one got into an election season. This was because many
people changed their opinions on a daily basis, he said.
were important in that they sometimes could influence
voters if they see a particular party ahead and cause
them to vote for that particular party, or not for another
party that had a poor showing.