Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Creditable performance ratings for Holness, Golding

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 8:30 AMKimone Francis/Senior Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding.
Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Mark Golding have again met the pass mark in their stewardship of the Government and parliamentary Opposition, though with lower grades when compared to last year, the latest RJRGLEANER-commissioned polls have determined.

Holness, who is midway through his second term in office since 2016, received the thumbs up from 66.2 per cent of the 1,010 adult Jamaicans surveyed by the Don Anderson-led Market Research Services Limitied in terms of his performance in office.

A breakdown shows that 28.8 per cent of Jamaicans believe that the prime minister is doing a good (19.2 per cent) or very good (9.6 per cent) job and 37.4 per cent acknowledged that his performance is average.

In contrast, 33.8 per cent believe that Holness is performing below average, with 18.6 per cent rating him as a very poor steward, and 15.2 per cent saying his is a poor performer.

The top five responses listed for the prime minister’s positive performance rating are that he is a good leader who is in touch with people, cares about Jamaicans and Jamaica, improved the economy, and developed the country’s infrastructure.

For the opposition leader, who has been in the position for three years, 52.7 per cent of Jamaicans polled across all parishes believes he has performed creditably, with 14.5 per cent rating his performance as good (10.3 per cent) or very good (4.2 per cent). At the same time, Golding’s performance in office was found to be average by 38.2 per cent of respondents.

Still, a significant amount of Jamaicans have found the performance of Golding wanting, with 47.4 per cent of those polled indicating dissatisfaction with his performance. Of that figure, 26.1 per cent said Golding’s performance was poor and 21.3 per cent said that it was very poor.

Jamaicans believe that Golding speaks on important issues affecting the country, speaks on behalf of the poor, is an honest representation of the Opposition, is a good leader, and has good plans to move the country forward.

The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus three per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level.

Random callbacks were placed to 25 per cent of respondents as part of validating the data which was collected between August 30 and September 14.

“The prime minister’s higher rating is not surprising because he is in the seat of governance directing government output unlike the opposition leader who can only lead his party in Parliament, criticise the Government, and meet with the people and and other stakeholders,” political scientist Professor Christopher Charles said in analysing the data.

Golding’s rating, the University of the West Indies senior lecturer said, would be closer to the prime minister’s if he was consistently articulating some signature transformative policy ideas that the people support.

He said both leaders having ratings above 50 per cent is consistent with the findings of two recent polls on party standing that, when interpreted correctly, show that the parties are tied.

“These current leader ratings cannot tell you how the people will vote in the next general election. The election is two years away – meaning it is too far out to call it. Only a poll on the party standings, or approval rating of the party leaders within the election year can indicate the likely election outcome. Voter preference is relatively stable because voters don’t change their minds overnight,” the professor of political psychology told The Gleaner.

Compared to a year ago, Holness has seen a 6.8 percentage point decline in his positive performance rating, which at that time was 73 per cent, according to another Anderson poll commissioned by the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.

A total of 1,113 Jamaicans responded in that survey.

The prime minister’s negative performance rating increased by 6.8 per cent from the 27 per cent it stood at last year.

Similarly, Golding’s positive performance rating also declined, dropping 8.3 percentage points from 61 per cent.

His negative performance rating has increased by 8.4 percentage points from 39 per cent.