There is an increase in confidence among voters in Guyana in the opposition PPP Irfaan Ali’s Presidential leadership. A year ago, voters had questions about his candidacy. That has now been put to rest. In surveys conducted in Guyana by various pollsters, voters are coming around to supporting Irfaan Ali in the March 2 general and regional elections. Voters say they are excited about his candidacy. There is a climate of positive feeling regarding Irfaan. He has very high levels of support. Irfaan, as he is popularly called, is well positioned to capture the presidency from his nemesis David Granger of the ruling APNU+AFC coalition. Opinion polls say he leads. The latest Celac poll gives the PPP a 5% lead.
Electability is among the top issue on voters’ minds and PPP supporters say Irfaan is electable and are eagerly backing him. Unlike a year ago, they feel Irfaan is now matured enough as a politician and well positioned to run the country with the experienced former President Bharrat Jagdeo at his side.The PPP presidential candidate has strong support from the leader of the party, Bharrat Jagdeo who has been given rock star status as an election campaigner. Jagdeo’s popularity is increasingly being transferred onto Irfaan, who also has been attracting large crowds on his own at several meetings. If the party wins, and polls catapult it in front, it is because of Jagdeo’s unquestionable popularity among voters and support for Irfaan.
While some months ago, there were many voters, traditionally supporters of PPP, who were standing on the sidelines, they have now joined the Irfaan bandwagon. They note Irfaan has improved substantially as a speaker and thinker on the campaign trail and in his interaction with people in daily encounters. Business community has also come around to supporting Irfaan. He has learned much from his experience as a young Minister. Voters say they can put their trust in him. This could propel the PPP presidential candidate into the presidency as virtually every published survey showed PPP leading in popular support.
New polling shows Irfaan picking up substantial support. Polls show traditional PPP supporters, who walked away from the party in 2011 and 2015 and supported AFC and APNU to bring about change, have returned because of their ill-treatment by members of the ruling coalition administration. Also, Indians, who have been the backbone of the PPP, are not defecting as in 2015 and are largely sticking with the party in much the same way that Africans are sticking with the coalition. Support for the coalition is weak in the rural areas and the hinterland among Indians and Amerindians. Because of perceived discrimination, Indians are less likely to vote for the coalition as they did in 2015 and are fully behind Irfaan. Unaffiliated supporters from other groups like Mixed and Amerindians are also backing Irfaan. This gives an advantage to the PPP to return to power.