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If it is not tight, the polls not right: Daly suggests a local polling problem

One political pundit who conducted a poll suggested that the Peoples’ Partnership might win tomorrow’s election based on “leanings” shown in that particular poll.  Another poll three days ago reported the Partnership “on track” to win” but the marginals could go either way.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago pollster Nigel Henry (right) receives an award for his work.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago pollster Nigel Henry (right) receives an award for his work.

Despite those ‘leanings’ and the meanderings of the Nigel Henry polls, the pollsters are equivocal about which of the two parties will win tomorrow’s election, the PNM or the incumbent Peoples’ Partnership—a coalition, now unlike 2010, visibly dominated by the UNC to whom the COP abjectly surrendered.

Some of the COP castrati are still singing for suppers already eaten and for well-rewarded acquiescence but Michael Williams and Conrad Aleong have given sound advice to those COP who did not eat UNC food.

The pollsters have said that the election is too tight to call, telling us the numbers of undecided are high, hence their equivocation.

If there is a winner by a majority of more than two seats, then the polling methodologies used will be shown up as unsuitable for use in a polling environment with characteristics very different from countries in which polling is taught.

First, the parties cannot be distinguished by their position on the major issues of violent crime, daily road traffic chaos, the failing education system and economy, even at the current critical time of falling energy prices.

Photo: Former House Speaker Wade Mark (left) talks to students in Parliament. Education is not presumed to be an important factor for voters. (Courtesy Gov.tt)
Photo: Former House Speaker Wade Mark (left) talks to students in Parliament.
Education is not presumed to be an important factor for voters.
(Courtesy Gov.tt)

We also live in an economy in which the Government is dominant and all our Governments have shown vindictiveness. This situation compels persons to be secretive or to mislead about their likely voting choice.

By contrast to their evasion of the issues, the political parties are focused on “the politics of personal destruction.” This has been a nasty campaign and the nasties have extended their personal attacks to anyone who dissents about anything they say or do, thereby providing further reason for citizens to feel intimidated and fearful to disclose preferences.

In passing, it must be observed that our politicians participate in a very visible level of high living. They are surrounded by members of the ‘contractocracy’, including lawyers whose fees are in a stratosphere never reached by some of the greats of the legal profession. This questionably moneyed environment does fuel corruption accusations and personal attacks.

This election we have experienced a new phenomenon also calculated to make the electorate cagey. It is the act of confronting citizens directly through their personal communication devices where there is not the anonymity from a random call by a pollster.

For example, one day in mid-August, a young professional received, by What’s App, unsolicited directions how to find a political meeting nearby in the constituency in which he lives.

Photo: Wait... How?! (Copyright Shuttershock)
Photo: Wait… How?!
(Copyright Shuttershock)

One week later this young person receives another message informing him of the regret that he had not attended the candidate’s meeting for which directions had been previously given. He was then given directions to another meeting.

This was not a random shot. It was sent to the mobile number of a resident living in close proximity to the two meetings.

Mobile numbers as far as I know do not indicate address or area. How was this young citizen’s personal information accessed? Assuming it was easily available, how was it linked to the area of residence? Who authorised its use for partisan political purposes?

Is this a threshold crossed towards more widespread political spying?

This chilling occurrence came to my attention liming during the Independence weekend. In fact as a result of the ole talk during that lime I had intended to write a light hearted column relating the kicks and quips in the liming conversations in which a wide range of ages were represented.

In the course of those kicks and quips, generations compared changes in courting. The older ones spoke of the lyrics, notes and flowers that made the heart go ‘bidip, budup.’

Photo: How do I get her to notice me?
Photo: How do I get her to notice me?

For the young ones the current emphasis on physical attributes and vanity has given rise to a trend in tight clothes better to attract a mate. In the men’s clothing department this was summarised as: “If it ain’t tight it ain’t right; if it ain’t squeezin’ it ain’t pleasing”.

It is from that trend that the headline of this column about tight polls emerged.

In 2007 and 2010, I made accurate predictions of the winner—and, in 2007, many weeks before the election date.

In order to win this 2015 election, the PNM must regain at least nine seats lost to the Partnership in the 2010 wave of ‘Kamla-mania.’ This is a difficult task.

We will see whether Kamla is still the incumbent’s trump card, able to make the Partnership palatable no matter what.

Personally, I am no longer undecided, but this time I make no prediction.  The indications of my thought process and my concerns where the post-election dangers lie are contained in my columns.

Photo: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Photo: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

May we preserve our precious electoral peace.

AboutMartin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation, a board member of The Little Carib Theatre and Folkhouse and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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17 comments

  1. Naette, that was both funny and distracting! lol

  2. COP castrati..that’s as far as I got. Have to start over.

  3. Lasana, I’ve been saying that for weeks now.

  4. ‘not sharing feelings with pollsters’ as well as other things

  5. Many people appear to not be sharing their true feelings with pollsters. It must be very unnerving for politicians who are trying to figure out their chances tomorrow.

  6. Earl Best

    And why would you feel, Martin, that you run some kind of risk by declaring your hand? I hope it’s not because, if you turn out to be wrong, you might get some licks. Whatever happened to the courage of your convictions? Or is it that the side you think will win is not the side you wish to win? Either way, such pusillanimity ill becomes you, I daresay…

  7. “contractorocracy” great word.

  8. Pollsters trying to and some already eating a food. Using “undecided” to cover their false predictions. They are also publishing false information in an attempt to interfere with voters public opinion by swaying the same undecided into jumping on the “winning bandwagon”.. Case in point one ‘pollster attempting to sell his well crafted partisan wares to the PNM and was chased away , even threatening to remodel his data interpretation and sell it to the ‘other side’. It is a sham and a lot of bullocks as far as I am concerned. The truth is numbers don’t lie, however the interpretation of those numbers can be quite subjective.

  9. I’m actually surprised that many of my peers …mind you only the Indian ones will believe every lie told about Rowley but not believe a bad word said about mother Kamla.

  10. It bothers me that there are studies that show that people will ignore corruption if they can see results they personally value. There are numerous examples of this elsewhere in the world. The PP’s mantra was “Serve the people” but what they really meant was “Fool the people”. And they did an excellent job of that. I am shocked that so many people I know claim that both parties are corrupt but they will vote for the PP as it has been “developing” the country. Have they not been paying any attention at all? Apparently not. Unfortunately Patrick Manning did a good job of creating the “raging bull” image and they are fearful. There are none so blind as those that will not see that Keith Rowley is the only leader that can manage our economy at this time. I look forward to having him as Prime Minister.

  11. Plenty people just waiting to correct the mistake they made in 2010. I ent know if Kamla and Prakash realize how hated the COP is. And with spoil chile Hamel-Smith in the mix I think the PP in for a rude awakening.

  12. The people will come out this time and may the chips fall where they may!

  13. Gaiven Clairmont

    I would’ve liked a prediction. Honestly after seeing all the tomfoolery about who crowd bigging than who and really trying to get a vibe as to what is or might be going through the mind of voters b4 sept 7th, I am almost at a loss, personally I think the numbers gap might be a bit difficult for the PNM to make up, so up to Friday night I was inclined to predict 22-19, 21-20 to the PP. But Going back to the LGE and the last few weeks, I am inclined to switch drastically and say maybe just maybe the PNM might win this and naybe just maybe Rowley can mobilise ppl to vote for him, because he’ll need at least 350,000 votes to win this election and that will be the most the PNM ever got, providing of course if the voter turn out is above 68%, if it is low then it will be very tricky indeed. I personally think it is too close too call right now, you’ll have to see how the marginals go but, but the ppl are fed up of the PP and they showed this in 4 elections in 2013 and if we go on that their can be a mass celebration at Balisier House on Sept 7th.