Faris Al-Rawi

Lack of proper healthcare, unemployment and inadequate youth training and development in the San Fernando West constituency could have a major influence as to which party voters would support in next Monday’s general election.

The findings were contained in a recent San Fernando West marginal poll conducted by HHB and Associates Ltd led by pollster Louis Bertrand for the 2020 general election.

In Monday’s T&T Guardian, the first part of the poll found that People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate for San Fernando West, incumbent Faris Al-Rawi, has a 20 per cent lead over his closest opponent Sean Sobers of the United National Congress (UNC).

The poll, commissioned by Guardian Media, has a six per cent margin of error.

Interviews were conducted on 200 registered voters on issues ranging from major issues influencing the vote, party best capable of solving problems, the general progress of country and people, performance in the constituency (PNM and UNC), assessment of candidates, opinions of candidates, reasons for the ratings, voting intentions and voter switching patterns.

People’s Partnership candidate Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan won the constituency in the 2010 general election.

Five years later, the constituency switched hands in favour of Al-Rawi who captured 10,112 votes compared to 6,802 for the then UNC candidate Raziah Ahmed.

In examining the final part of the poll, respondents were asked to indicate how important a series of issues were influencing who they would vote for in the upcoming elections.

Unemployment (98 per cent) youth training and development (98 per cent) and health care (97 per cent) were identified as “the three most important issues that will influence how electors intend to vote,” the poll stated.

The issue of corruption (78 per cent), illegal Venezuelan immigrants (74 per cent) and letting foreign nationals come home (59 per cent) were last on the list.

Regarding which party is best capable of solving problems, the PNM was polled as most competent in the areas- education, health care, housing, prices/inflation, public transport, road maintenance/repairs and reopening of the economy which received ratings in the 50’s compared to the UNC’s scores all of which were under 19 per cent.

The PNM was credited for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, having obtained 72 per cent compared to the UNC’s ten per cent.

Almost one-third of voters (31 per cent) reported that they were personally worse off today compared to five years ago, while 39 per cent claimed their personal situation had not changed with 29 per cent stating they were in a better position.

The poll also focused on the performance of the UNC/PNM in the constituency in the last five years.

In terms of development, 49 per cent of respondents considered the PNM’s performance to be “good” to the UNC’s 18 per cent.

Under the category “bad” the UNC was given a 43 per cent rating compared to the PNM’s 29 per cent.