The latest findings of the ongoing tracking opinion poll being conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) thru Saturday August 8 to determine the outcome of Monday’s general elections put the race as a dead heat. It could go either way. The election is turning out to be too close to call. The Undecided swing voters (5%) in eleven marginal seats would determine the winner.
Updated polling conducted from August 1 thru the morning of August 8 have the contest statistically tied in popular support between the ruling PNM and the opposition UNC in nine and the PDP in Tobago East. The ILP is putting up a strong showing in Lopinot Bon Air where the PNM is slightly ahead; it is a wild card. If the two major parties were to win 20 seats each or one party 20 and the other 19, then the PDP and or ILP could be king makers in government formation. They would be in a position to hold any government accountable, a verdict many voters desire to bring ‘balanced’ governance.
The survey was conducted by Dr. Vishnu Bisram who has been involved in polling in Trinidad since 1995. The latest poll interviewed 920 voters representative of the ethnic demographics (41% Indians, 40% Africans, 19% Mixed/others) of the population and was conducted over the last week.
Based on the findings of the survey, both PNM and UNC have retained the bulk of their support. This would translate into 15 seats for each party. The battle is for the remaining 11 seats. Of these, UNC is leading in four seats and PNM in four seats. Three seats are a dead heat. So it is 19-19. Ten of the eleven seats are within the poll’s margin of error of 4%. The UNC has gained support in every constituency except in a few that it traditionally won in — like St. Augustine and a few in Central Trinidad. The UNC is doing quite well in D’Abadie/O’meara and Arima but not within winning possibility. Ditto La Brea.
The UNC goes into the election with a tailwind and the PNM on the defensive over widespread disenchantment over governance issues. The poll also shows Kamla as having a higher approval rating than Rowley and in the rating for empathy and compassion. Rowley leads in handling Covid. The PNM has been flooding the airwaves, social media, and publications with advertisement. The PNM is also known to have the best electoral machinery in the entire Caribbean.
The updated polling in Tobago shows the PDP holding its support and in a close battle for Tobago East; it also cannot be completely dismissed in the West. And in Lopinot Bon Air, ILP’s Jack Warner has been gaining traction and is the wild card. The other small parties are struggling with no chance for a seat.
Taking everything into consideration, the election is too close to call. Whichever party gets its supporters out on voting day would win key marginals and by extension a majority of seats for government formation.